Tanimura & Antle's Anthony Mazzuca Discusses Transition to Salinas and Start of Artisan Sweet Italian Red Onion Shipments
- by Jessica Donnel
SALINAS, CA - With a swift move to the cooler temperatures of Oxnard, Huron, and Salinas, California, Tanimura & Antle have completed its harvest operation transition. As the Sonoran Desert Valley have soared to sizzling temperatures, I spoke with Anthony Mazzuca, Senior Director of Commodity Management at Tanimura & Antle, about the rising customer demand for new crops from the San Joaquin and Salinas Valleys, how the transition played out, and what innovative products the company will focus on next.
“Grower/shippers that remain in the Sonoran Desert are experiencing temperatures in excess of 95 degrees, resulting in a rapid decline in quality on lettuce and leafy greens,” Anthony explains. “This is pushing customer demand towards new crops in the San Joaquin and Salinas Valleys.”
Anthony shared that the initial harvest of several categories in Salinas and Huron was pushed slightly behind schedule due to cold weather in late February and early March, alongside the wet weather the region has seen in recent weeks. He warned that the mix of late harvesting and delayed plantings could result in a slight dip in produce volumes once late May and early June hits. But, remember last year’s transition where the industry felt extreme delays in harvest and prolonged volatility in supply? Anthony says that 2018 has been much more fluid, with the Salinas-transition even resulting in a lift for key markets.
“The previously depressed market conditions of this year's Sonoran Desert season have greatly improved since transitioning northward, most notably for romaine,” Anthony continues. “Despite weather related challenges, sizing is consistent and quality has been excellent. Looking further out, volatility of supply in late May resulting from March’s rains will likely result another period of strong market conditions.”
Lettuce, leafy greens, and cole crops have all made a timely exit from Yuma, but Tanimura & Antle will have one last hurrah out of the desert. Anthony says the new crop of Artisan Sweet Italian Red Onions is gearing up for first shipments out of the valley for May 1st, offering unrivaled quality and flavor during the summer months.
Those retailers who want to capitalize on merchandising opportunities for the unique sweet onion can keep an eye out for Tanimura & Antle’s Be Bold display contest, happening May 14th through July 8th at retailers all across the U.S. Display bins and other point of purchase materials are available to all participating customers at taproduce.com/be-bold.