Crystal Valley Foods Katiana Valdes Discusses Post-Acquisition Growth, Expanded Growing Regions, and More
- by Melissa De Leon Chavez
MIAMI, FL - Nothing keeps you in the game like having a full deck to play. Since settling into its 2019 acquisition of Joco Produce, not to mention keeping up a complete geographical rotation in multiple categories, Crystal Valley Foods seems to be holding all the cards.
“We are going into our 27th year and have been fortunate to have many of the same great people with us that were here when we started. Our team has extensive knowledge in their specialties—from our procurement team to shipping and repack to accounting, everyone creates a solid team to help our salespeople deliver that unique customer service that really helps us stand out from our competition,” Katiana Valdes, Director of Marketing and Business Development, shares. “Beyond customer service, we have very full, robust, unique, and consistent product offerings at Crystal Valley.”
That line includes a year-round portfolio of asparagus, blueberries, tropical fruits and vegetables, and more.
“Although we import asparagus from Peru year-round, the spring season is winding down and we are kicking off the Mexican spring season. We anticipate promotable volume and good quality from the Caborca region in Mexico starting at the end of January,” Katiana says. “We import during all key regions in both countries in order to have a consistently good supply and quality throughout the year.”
This agility she credits with having and adding more strong, long-term partnerships with growers in Mexico, a strategy that blankets all categories Crystal Valley offers.
“We also ensure that we have consistent blueberry and blackberry supply for our customers year-round, and the market has been steady,” Katiana shares. “Come springtime, Crystal Valley will return to the U.S., shipping domestic blueberries from Georgia, Alabama, and North Carolina.”
With a continued focus on more domestic berry production in the summer months, she adds that the company is currently in talks with additional growers from other parts of the U.S., hinting to even more growth as we discuss the company’s continued momentum.
After all, this month marks the anniversary of welcoming Joco Produce’s tropical portfolio, and the addition has been key to the team’s versatility.
“Over the last year, Crystal Valley has benefited greatly from its new team members who have brought their extensive knowledge in sourcing and marketing unique Asian and tropical items. We’ve been able to develop new value-added retail packs to add to our already extensive line, and the addition of the company’s products has allowed us to become that one-stop shop for our customers and help us to deliver new and unique products year-round,” Katiana points out.
Crystal Valley’s pre-packaged fruits and vegetables now include 2 oz Thai Chili, 3 oz green, orange, and red habanero peppers, 5 oz ginger, 3 oz cachucha peppers, 5 oz turmeric, 5 oz ginger, and a 12 oz okra, and the team continued to make plans for more items, such as bagged jalapeños and a bagged habanero for foodservice outlets.
“Crystal Valley has experience in developing customized, national programs for traditional retailers, foodservice providers, wholesalers, and online home delivery services,” Katiana tells me of the company’s strength as a supply partner. “We have the flexibility to provide custom pack sizes and private labels at our customer’s request. Additionally, we have an in-house marketing team that is happy to work with our partners to develop POS, recipes, and social media content.”
With a new year set to deal out plenty of new cards, it looks like Crystal Valley is in a great place to ante up. For all the latest in the fresh produce game, continue to keep an eye on AndNowUKnow.