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Nogales gives Prime Time Produce year-round supply of peppers

By
Kyle Eberth

“We are currently in the heart of the Nogales deal,” said Katy Johnson, purchasing & marketing manager at Prime Time Produce, speaking of their Mexican pepper operation. Sourced primarily in Western Mexico, Johnson said, “our growing partners throughout Mexico have all been strategically chosen to eliminate the potential gaps that tend to occur as production transitions from one area to another.” 

Better known as “The Pepper People,” Prime Time International has been in the pepper business for well over a quarter of a century. The company's experience and operational footprint has positioned it as one of the United State’s largest year-round growers, packers, and shippers of colored peppers. “With more than a dozen premium operations south of the border, Prime Time is able to maintain consistency and the balance of quality, quantity and availability,” said Johnson.

“Additionally, several of our growers provide us with both peppers and asparagus, which is a mutually beneficial partnership,” she added.

These last few years, Prime Time has diversified its offerings to include these commodities in it’s Nogales deal. “Prime Time has promotional volume throughout the winter months and early spring with a complete lineup of our hot house and field grown produce,” Johnson said. Prime Time’s peppers and asparagus will be available in standard, specialty, and display ready packaging including bags, sleeves and consumer size cartons.

Prime Time bell peppers are field grown in the U.S. from May through November, beginning in the Coachella Valley. In early summer, production transitions to Bakersfield, and eventually peaks in Oxnard mid-summer through late fall. During the winter and early spring months, Prime Time bell peppers are grown and packed in carefully selected field and hot house locations throughout Mainland and Baja Mexico, and shipped from Prime Time facilities in Nogales, AZ and San Diego, CA.

As for this year’s Nogales crop, “so far, quality has been exceptional, and volume has been consistently high, primarily due to favorable growing conditions throughout the region,” said Johnson. Demand has remained steady throughout the first half of the winter season, but high yields and logistic issues have contributed to occasional ups and downs in pricing. “We typically expect this type of fluctuation mid-season out of Mexico,” Johnson assured.

Serving as a ballast to these expected variables, Prime Time emphasized their technologically advanced farming practices throughout the U.S. and Mexico, combined with the operation of state-of-the-art packing facilities, help to ensure delivery of the safest and best-tasting produce in the marketplace, despite variables from mother-nature.

While the weather has been kind in Nogales, every year has its obstacles. “There are always challenges, and sometimes they create new opportunities,” said Johnson. “This year, the global supply chain issues that we are facing across the board are really affecting the fresh produce industry.”

Johnson noted the difficulty in securing packaging materials and essential supplies. “Boxes, bags, pallets, labels, you name it, everything you need is harder to find and takes much longer to get,” she noted.

Johnson added that the perseverance and creativity of Prime Time’s production team, in maintaining order in the day-to-day business of delivering fresh produce, “sometimes it is a real struggle, but the ability to adapt has also allowed Prime Time to service new clients that can’t find what they need elsewhere.”  It’s the company’s Nogales operation that allows Prime Time to meet demand when opportunities present themselves, with its year-round supply of bell peppers, mini sweets, and asparagus.

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November 28, 2022

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