Tanimura & Antle's Anthony Mazzuca Discusses Current Huron Conitions and Transition to Yuma
- by Melissa De Leon
HURON, CA – While many growers make the jump from Salinas to Yuma directly, Tanimura & Antle is bridging the gap between the two growing regions in Huron. With one eye on the weather and the other on production, Tanimura & Antle’s Sr. Director of Commodity Management, Anthony Mazzuca, shares the current outlook and the work behind a smooth transition.
“Despite slight reductions in yield in our first fields, quality has been excellent and bug pressures have been below normal on lettuce and leaf in Huron,” Anthony shares, attributing some spotty stands to unseasonable weather in Huron during planting. “Market conditions have been depressed this year due to industry production overlap in Salinas, Huron, and Yuma for Lettuce and Leafy Greens.”
This year compared to last looks to be steady, Anthony explains, commenting that volumes shipped last week are nearly the same as 2016.
“Typically, Week 45 (w/e Nov. 11) and Week 46 (w/e Nov. 18) are the biggest loading weeks of the year, barring any production shortages. Sales this week appear to be following that trend,” he shares.
Currently, Tanimura & Antle’s Huron operation is growing Lettuce, Romaine, Red Romaine, Romaine Hearts, Green and Red Leaf, Green and Red Boston, Little Gem, Artisan Romaine, and Artisan Lettuce. As of this week, the team is on track to transition Iceberg Lettuce to Yuma the week of Nov 18, followed by the rest of the Huron commodities in the Nov. 25 week with the exception of Artisan Lettuce and Artisan Romaine. The latter two will move to Yuma the week of Dec. 9.
“The Thanksgiving ‘holiday pull’ tends to be the highest customer demand of the year for many commodities, Celery being the most notable,” Anthony tells me, sharing that preparing for and managing through the transition tests all facets of the produce industry. “Every year, this 'pull' falls squarely in the middle of the Transition. Seamlessly managing our migration across these geographic areas along with the elevated production levels, requires long hours and late nights by our employees. Their extraordinary efforts have positioned us well to meet customer demand for the holiday pull.”
He explains that, for Tanimura & Antle specifically, operations can be spread to as many as five different locations over this period.
“Loading locations in Salinas, Hollister, Huron, Oxnard, and Yuma, briefly overlap as growing areas make their annual move southward. Balancing efficiencies between loading locations with truck picks can prove logistically challenging. Each day requires quick and decisive responses in order to maintain the high level of customer service Tanimura & Antle demands of itself.”
As Tanimura & Antle and other key movers in the produce industry continue the trek to prime produce grounds throughout the year, keep checking in with AndNowUKnow for the latest.