Skip to main content

- Advertisement -

iDeal HarBest finding its stride with record growth

By
John Groh, publisher

Now in its seventh year, Nogales, AZ-based iDeal HarBest experienced a record year in 2022 and is poised for further growth with plans to add to its product line.

“We had a record year last year, and we started with a bang this year, so that has been very exciting for us,” said Manny Fajardo, a partner in the business, who leads the company’s sales and marketing efforts. “In fact, our sales in January 2023 alone exceeded our entire first year in business in 2017.”

Hermy Torres, iDeal HarBest’s other principle, who focuses on the financial and administrative aspects of the business, said the growth can be attributed to several factors.

“Last year, we attended six of the major industry trade shows, and that has been a contributing factor to our growth,” he said. “We are getting the word out about who we are and what we offer, and the industry is taking notice.” Torres also said the company has added to its year-round product lineup, which has been a key factor to increasing the business. “We now have year-round grape and Roma tomatoes, in addition to our summer squash, and we continue to explore opportunities to add to our line. Our main growing regions are Baja, Sonora and Sinaloa, but we are looking more to central Mexico because the climate there offers more seasonality.”

In addition to the aforementioned items, iDeal is getting stronger with eggplant out of Sinaloa and added an organic heirloom tomato line. Fajardo said iDeal also offers organic Brussels sprouts from December to June in two-pound mesh bag, as well as summer squash in a 3.5-pound mixed pack, two-count organic zucchini, cucumber and green Bell pepper packs, and 10-ounce bags of jalapeños and tomatillos.

“We are seeing continuous growth in our packaged products because they are convenient to consumers,” said Fajardo. “Also, our bags are clear so people can see the high-quality product that is inside.”

iDeal will be featuring many of these items at the upcoming Viva Fresh Expo, and Fajardo and Torres are excited to engage with the attendees of this increasingly popular show. “We joined TIPA last year, and this will be our second time at Viva Fresh,” said Fajardo. “We had a very good experience last year and were able to meet with a lot of buyers last year. It was definitely part of our successful 2022.”

Aside from meeting with buyers, Torres said Viva Fresh offers a great opportunity to meet with new and existing growers to help support iDeal’s efforts to increase its year-round offerings. “Growers are also our customers and they are a key part of our team,” he said. “Finding a good grower is tough and something we do not take for granted. In fact, we consider ourselves to be the sales department for our growers. We do not look at them as suppliers, we consider them as part of our team.”

But iDeal is very selective about which growers it forms relationships with, only choosing to work with those that have all the necessary certifications in place and the ability to meet its high standards for quality.

“Our relationships with some of our growers goes well beyond the seven years iDeal has been in business,” said Fajardo. “In fact, we have known some for more than 20 years, and that really sets us apart as a company.”

As part of its commitment to ensuring the best output from its growers, iDeal recently formed a Grower Relations department.

“The Grower Relations department allows us to make sure everything is running properly and helps identify new opportunities,” said Fajardo. “We get a full report every day from every grower so we can keep track of everything that is going on.”

And while it is valuable to receive direct reports from the fields in Mexico, Torres said having a Grower Relations department also benefits the growers.

“Our growers really appreciate that we are heavily involved in the process,” he said. “It gives them assurance that we are committed to their success.”

iDeal HarBest’s product line is currently 60 percent conventional product and 40 percent organic, but Fajardo said organic production is increasing each year and represents the best opportunity for growth.

“We want to be known as an organic house,” he said. “Organic has been one of the drivers of our growth, and it is so important because we can fill all of our customers’ needs so they don’t have to look elsewhere.” Torres said that the company’s growth has come as the result of investment.

In addition to attending more trade shows and adding the Grower Relations department, iDeal is nearing completion of a new cold room at its location in Nogales. “We’re about to complete construction,” he said in early March. “It is more than 25,000 square feet of cold storage with racking for over 1,000 pallets. This is a big step for us as we move to the next level as a company. We are very excited.”

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.

 

Tagged in:

- Advertisement -

July 11, 2024
In 2023, the California total table grape crop was valued at $2.3 billion, making table grapes one of the most valued crops in the state. However, the California table grape industry is not only… Read More

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -