MAS Melons and Grapes' Mikee Suarez Talks Winter Melon Deal and Upcoming Asparagus Season
- by Jessica Donnel
RIO RICO, AZ - With MAS Melons and Grapes’ winter melon season well underway in Colima, Mexico, the company is continuing on its mission to provide the best-tasting, most consistent product out there. I spoke with MAS Salesman and 2nd generation distributor Mikee Suarez about how he sees the rest of the winter melon deal panning out, as well as what else is to come from the company in its 20th year of business.
“The MAS winter deal in west-central Mexico covers honeydew, watermelon, and mini watermelon, and will last from when we started on December 26th, and run until mid- to late-April,” Mikee tells me as we go over the season. “We grow our honeydew ten months out of the year from October through July—first in Caborca, then Colima, and back to Caborca. Growing out of Mexico gives us the advantage of a great quality honeydew with high brix thanks to the region’s warm weather.”
Mikee shares with me that there has been a boost in demand for conventional watermelons, and both MAS and the industry at large have responded by increasing acreage. Mini watermelons have also been seeing great demand and a high movement market, with MAS’ supplies of the new portfolio item selling out almost every day.
So, why are retailers responding so well to the MAS winter melon program? Mikee says the key lies in the flavor. “One of the things we’re really proud of at MAS is that we really take flavor into account,” he explains. “If we can’t provide our customers with a great tasting melon, why even bother? Our goal is to provide consumers with the best tasting fruit out there and get them to keep coming back for more. It's all about the eating experience.”
With the slower winter season winding down, MAS is just now looking towards the horizon for the busy spring and summer seasons. More melons and grapes will be on the way, but first out of the gate is the company’s growing asparagus deal.
“We will start our asparagus season out of Northern Mexico in the first week of February and expect to have supplies until mid April," Mikee says. "The industry has noticed that production is a little bit behind schedule, but this will make for promotable volumes right out of the gate when the crop begins to come in. We should have a great supply for our third year of production. Our volume has seen substantial growth between 2014 to now.”
Also on the horizon for MAS Melons and Grapes this year is the company’s long awaited 20th anniversary. MAS will hit the impressive two decade mark this upcoming August 14, and you can bet Mikee will be ready to celebrate.
“As a 2nd generation member of MAS, it’s been amazing to see what my father Miky and our grower partners have been able to create over the past 20 years,” Mikee says. “Being able to see everything our company has accomplished together over the years is a beautiful thing.”
As MAS continues into its 20th year of providing great quality produce, stay tuned to AndNowUKnow for continued updates on the spring and summer seasons.