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GreenPoint increasing product lines based on customer demand

By
John Groh, publisher

GreenPoint Distributing offers a highly diversified product line, ranging from hard shell and summer squash to sweet corn, citrus and melons, which is key to its quest to be a one-stop shop for its customers.

“We work with several growers, including some longtime growers with whom we have built great relationships over the years,” said Alfred Nuñez, sales director for the Rio Rico, AZ-based GreenPoint. “It’s a good combination, and all are focused on quality.”

Nuñez said GreenPoint expects to ship 25 percent more volume this year — 6 million packages overall, up from 4.8 million last year. “We’ll have an increase in basically every commodity, based on customer demand,” he said. “And we’ll procure product for customers even if we don’t offer it, because that is part of the service we provide.”

He said the increase is made possible by advanced technology and better growing practices that enable growers to extend their seasons. This also helps maintain quality of the product.

“The growers do such a great job, and Mexico puts out better packs across the board, with a little more weight and top-notch quality,” he said.

The extended seasons also help GreenPoint to minimize supply gaps, though that is sometimes unavoidable due to weather.

“So far the weather has been good this year,” Nuñez said in early November, “but we do expect some gaps on sweet corn in mid-January due to Hurricane Norma that hit Sinaloa in October. We may plant a little later and have the season run a little longer to April 15. There may be gaps on some other items, but we will have to wait and see.”

Nuñez said hard shell squash is one of GreenPoint’s signature items, and its grower of that commodity has been working with the company for 22 years.

“He’s our main winter squash supplier and one of the best out there,” said Nuñez. “We’re very proud of his product. And we actually had a Hami melon deal this fall for the first time, and he was the grower on that. We have been offering Hami for eight years, but normally in the spring. We had such a good response on that, we decided to try a fall Hami deal and it was a great success.”

Nuñez said GreenPoint also would be adding an eggplant deal this year as a way to round out its offerings.

“We are adding eggplant this year because we needed to fill a gap,” said Nuñez. “Our grower built more shade houses and we saw the first harvest in mid-November, and everything is looking excellent.”

That grower also added lemons, grapefruit and oranges, which works well for GreenPoint, as the company was looking to boost its citrus offerings.

“We have a mandarin deal from Jan. 1 to early February, it’s a very compact deal,” he said. “Our lemon deal ends in the early fall, and we saw a decent market on them. We want to get more into citrus because California volumes will be lower due to water issues, so we want to be able to fill that gap. There are still some water issues in Mexico, but in Sonora everyone has wells so it is not as much of a problem.”

Nuñez said GreenPoint has direct deals with retailers, and also supplies wholesalers and brokers, shipping nationwide and into Canada. When The Produce News visited the Rio Rico, AZ-based company in early November, the FPAA convention, rebranded under the SWIPE moniker with an expo, had just wrapped.

“We had a very good experience with SWIPE,” he said. “It was definitely a step in the right direction for FPAA, and there were many buyers and out-of-town attendees. It was similar to how Viva Fresh started, and that has become such an important event. I especially like the fact that everyone has 10x10 booths. We will probably exhibit next year at SWIPE.”

Photo: At the GreenPoint offices in Rio Rico, AZ, were (front row) Jocelyne Guillen, Amada Urtusuastegui, Anjelica Garcia, Fabiola Cuen and Iliana Valle, and (back row) Alfred Nuñez, Jennifer Ibañez, Danny Carosilva and Josh Acuña.

John Groh

John Groh

About John Groh  |  email

John Groh graduated from the University of San Diego in 1989 with a bachelors of arts degree in English. Following a brief stint as a sportswriter covering the New York Giants football team, he joined The Produce News in 1995 as an assistant editor and worked his way up the ranks, becoming publisher in 2006. He and his wife, Mary Anne, live in northern New Jersey in the suburbs of New York City.

 

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