Stellar Distributing increases organic fig offerings in five different varieties
With increased acreage in California’s San Joaquin Valley, Madera, CA-based Stellar Distributing Inc. is expecting to have a lot more organic figs to sell this year.
“We are going to have five different varieties,” said Sales Manager Kurt Cappelluti, listing Brown Turkey, Sierra, Black Mission, Tiger and Kadota as the varieties in which both an organic and conventional fig pack will be offered.
Speaking on the first Monday in May, Cappelluti said he was just finishing up the Mexican fig deal and was anxious to get going on his California desert crop. “We are going to have a few figs out of Niland” in the California desert near the Salton Sea “soon but it will be closer to the end of May before we start up here” in the San Joaquin Valley.
Cappelluti said the first crop out of California will be very light. “From May 15 to July 4, the fig supplies are going to be short. But once the main crop gets going after that, we are going to have great supplies.”
The Stellar executive said the fruit on the main crop “is the best quality I’ve seen in years. We will have promotable volume from the 15th of July on.”
Stellar is continuing to offer quite a few options for the retailer. Besides the standard packs, once again this year, it will offer a two-color pack in a 1.5-pound clamshell. Cappelluti said that pack was very popular last year and continues to gain favor. The company is also packing in what he called a “bubble pack,” which holds 9-12 pieces of fruit and allows for great utilization of truck space. In fact, he noted that you can load 60 percent more fruit in the same cargo space, giving the buyer a tremendous savings on freight rates. He said the bubble pack tray also allows for better cooling of the product, “which gives our figs an extra week of shelf life at retail,” he said.
On this May 2nd day, Cappelluti was doing all he could to stay ahead of the phone calls from customers wanting limes. With the Cinco de May weekend approaching, demand for limes was going through the roof as supplies were down a bit. “This is the hottest lime market we’ve had since they were selling for more than $100 per box a few years ago,” he said.
Depending upon size, he said limes were going for $40-$62 per carton, which he noted would have an effect on the market through the month of May. To try to satisfy demand, Mexican growers were picking an inordinate amount of small fruit, with the result the shortage could last through May.