Franzone, too, commented on the rising demand for ethnic produce. “Over the past five years, we’ve increased sales of Asian produce,” he confirms. “Kabocha squash, Japanese and Indian eggplant, bitter melon, Fairytale pumpkin, and Don Qua squash—some of these used to be decorations on shelves, now they’re regular items, particularly in the mom-and-pop stores that cater to ethnic consumers.”
Have traffic flow and inspection times improved since completion of the Mariposa Port reconfiguration?
MAS Melons & Grapes, LLC
I hear about delays, but for us it hasn’t been a hindrance. We don’t experience many delays because of the port.
Ciruli Brothers, LLC
Wait times are down, and there’s a lot more space… Nogales is a role model for future port of entries as far as the depth of the docks and the available space. The spatial layout is fantastic, and now we just need some more staff. Once the positions are filled, we’ll see faster turnaround times.
The port is much better; it’s a huge improvement. Like anything new, there are some issues, but overall it is great.
Fresh Produce Association of the Americas
There are still delays at the border; that will always be an issue. The bright spots with Mariposa are the new technology and that we’re getting some new staff. We no longer have the worst border wait times; things look good and are improving.
Robert Bennen Jr.
Ta-De Distributing Company
As for our company, traffic flow and inspections have proceeded as usual, and we expect even greater efficiencies with the new port expansion—since there will be more lanes and personnel devoted to inspections.
Arizona Sky Produce, Inc.
What we’re hearing from the drivers is that in years past, there have been significant delays—but this year hasn’t been as bad.
Augmenting selection with the introduction of new varieties is good for business, Franzone says, and certainly good for consumers. He hopes box stores like Costco might start sampling new varieties of produce versus processed food to introduce these items to the mainstream. “Very rarely do you see a supermarket cutting up baked squash and letting people try it,” he comments.