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Southern Specialties sees strong interest in asparagus for fall

By
Keith Loria

As Southern Specialties gears up for the end of November and December, the company is thinking about the holidays and getting things prepared for what it expects to be a strong end of 2021.

“The demand for our Southern Selects asparagus, in both conventional for retail and foodservice as well as our Southern Select value-adding offerings in a variety of pack sizes, has been strong,” said Charlie Eagle, vice president of business and development for the Pompano Beach, FL-based company. “During the holidays, consumers gravitate towards are larger pack sizes.”

Asparagus is Southern Specialties’ main product, which it grows, imports and markets in bulk presentations for retail and foodservice, while also offering customers value-added options.

“We do try and create a lot of diversity in the category,” Eagle said. “There are a lot of different customers, and we sell asparagus that are in a large-format bag for club stores that are ideal for family celebrations, or even small caterers. We also sell asparagus tips that are microwavable and are perfect for a couple. We run the gamut when it comes to asparagus offerings in both bulk and value-added presentations.”

Typically, one of its best sellers coming into the fall and winter season are the Southern Selects trimmed French beans, and as December approaches good volumes of snow peas and sugar snap peas from Guatemala pick up.

Southern Specialties’ specialty lineup includes baby squash, baby carrots and other baby vegetables, as well as broccolettes and clipped greens, which are all available under the company’s Southern Selects label. 

As late fall and winter arrive, the roster of products the company offers sees greater demand across the board.

“What we found throughout the last several months is that business continues to pick up,” Eagle said. “We’re seeing an increased foodservice demand, which is the portion that fell off most during the pandemic. Our retail programs are seeing good traction as well.”

Next year, Eagle anticipates continued growth for the company as Southern Specialties is planning to add some new products to its lineup and anticipate increased demand for its new broccoli florets, its sweet baby broccoli and more.

“One value that Southern Specialties brings to the table is enhanced logistics efficiencies,” Eagle said. “We have a facility in the optimal location for transit throughout the Eastern Seaboard. Trucks don’t have to go further south to Miami; they can pick up in our Pompano Beach facility. We offer an extensive menu of products as well as warehousing, storage, cross-dock services and consolidation services for our customers.”

More and more, Eagle noted he’s seeing the company’s location regarded as a “means of saving logistic dollars for companies on the East Coast going out to the Midwest.”

“The other thing that we bring to the table is in the Central American and South American countries where we grow and import produce, we’re supporting families,” Eagle said. “The financial support that we wind up giving families in those countries, means mothers, fathers and children can enjoy a better life without the pressures of having to look for homes outside of their own countries.”

That’s something that Southern Specialties takes pride in as it continues to bring value to its customers and those whose lives it touches.

Photo: Southern Specialties supports children in its grower communities in Guatemala with education and food.

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