Kiwi remains Trucco’s biggest commodity
One of the mainstays of the Hunts Point Terminal Market in the Bronx is A.J. Trucco, which first opened its doors 56 years ago.
The company’s retailers and partners are serviced by its sister company, Trucco Inc., out in Vineland, NJ, where there is a dedicated 75,000-square-foot state-of-the-art refrigeration and packaging facility. Trucco also offers 2,500 pallet positions, superior environmental, high-efficiency tech and brand-new advanced packing machinery, making the facility one of the most advanced on the East Coast.
When it comes to kiwi, the company provides it year-round thanks to strong relationships with growers from different regions around the world.
“For us, kiwi is the biggest commodity we handle by far,” said Nick Pacia, CEO of Trucco. “We do kiwi from around the world — from New Zealand to Chile to Italy and Greece.”
In September, the company is working in the New Zealand and Chile seasons and is waiting for the Italian and Greek seasons to start in October.
“It’s a little interesting this year,” Pacia said. “Italy is short due to a lot of dramatic events, from heavy rains and flooding to high temperatures in the summer. We will have a crop that’s probably 30 percent less this year.”
The kiwi from Greece is expected to match the season from last year, and not because the climate challenges weren’t there, but because there is no production happening in the country.
“So far, it seems like it will be about two weeks late from last year, but the quality is expected to be trending OK,” Pacia said.
The company began handling kiwifruit in the early 2000s when Pacia joined the company, and today it is the proud owner of the KiwiStar brand, which is well established among consumers and a state-of-the-art kiwifruit facility from growing to storage to production to distribution.
In addition to offering its KiwiStar kiwifruit brand in green, gold and organic varieties, the company is also one of Zespri’s exclusive distributors of Green and SunGold brands, and can provide its kiwifruit as well.
Customers that Trucco works with for kiwi include independent retailers and major retailers all across the Eastern Seaboard and Midwest.
“Being successful in kiwi, and really for any commodity, comes down to dedication,” Pacia said. “Dedication to the growers, dedication to the process and dedication to the customers. You must be available for anything that comes your way and be able to adjust when Mother Nature changes things.”
Trucco is set up in a way that lets it make these decisions and adjustments when needed to ensure that it can provide high-quality product. “We try to bring honesty to the process and our customers appreciate that,” Pacia said.
Trucco continues to grow and is in the process of expanding its facilities, with plans to double its distribution center in the next few years from 70,000 square feet to 160,000 square feet.
“We are also looking to get into the cherries out of Chile as well,” Pacia said. “We are also growing in blueberries, and garlic remains a great item for Trucco and has seen steady growth.”