Through a cooperation with growing partners throughout Mexico, SunFed is able to supply the U.S. market with soft vegetables year-round. The company’s offering of soft vegetables include, amongst others, yellow squash, zucchini, grey squash, eggplant, cucumber, euro cukes, bell peppers, onions, Roma tomatoes, & hot peppers. The company’s core items are squash and cucumbers. Their Perfect Organics® line comprises between 5 – 10% of their overall portfolio.
Gretchen Kreidler Austin, the company’s director of marketing and business development, says: “Our core items are available year-round because we have partners in multiple regions throughout Mexico which correspond to different growing windows. At any given time we are working with more than ten different growing locations with thousands of acres working year-round. There are only a few minor gaps between the windows of these regions.”
Weather challenges impact volume
The weather this year has not been favorable for the squash. Matt Mandel, VP of Finance & Legal, comments: “Squash love clear skies, sunshine and moonlight; rain is always a problem during the harvest. The weather pressures we have faced during the last couple of months have made the season a bit challenging. We have shifted some production to try to smooth out the peaks and valleys in our production, but we won’t be harvesting as much as we usually do.” The volumes look to remain lower than usual through the end of the year.
While the volumes are lower this year, SunFed ensures that the product hitting shelves remains at top quality. “We have battled to maintain the highest ratio of high quality produce, but quality can’t escape the clutches of mother nature. This means that we are able to pack less SunFed label production this year, because we always make that the produce that is being packed and shipped is of the highest quality,” Mandel shares.
SunFed’s tagline is “Perfect Produce®” which helps keep the company working hard to live up to the statement. “We had better live up to our tagline because no one is shy in reminding you when you miss the mark!” Mandel says.
Kreidler Austin adds: “One of the ways we try to ensure the quality of our produce is through our focus on food safety. The culture of food safety is ingrained throughout our company and backed up by technology, packaging and processes. We employ a team of food safety specialists who have set the highest standards in the fresh produce industry and administer internal audits to ensure that we’re meeting or exceeding them. These internal checks supplement external audits by Primus Labs, a group that certifies many of the companies that provide the foods that we all eat.”
“We and all of our grower partners are certified in all seven areas of food safety disciplines monitored by Primus Labs – and we work hard every day to maintain those certifications and, most importantly, to provide fresh produce of quality and freshness that meets and exceeds all established local, state and federal criteria,” Kreidler Austin concludes.