A major Mexican produce marketing and distribution agreement has been reached between Malena Produce and International Greenhouse Produce S.A. de C.V.
Gonzalo Avila, chief executive officer of Malena Produce, announced Sept. 25 that the agreement was finalized on July 31. Avila said the agreement is initially for one year. Both companies have been in business for more than 50 years.
Based in Nogales, “Malena Produce grew to be known as the largest and highest quality eggplant distributor in the North American market,” Avila said. The Canelos family, known for historically growing, packing and shipping the best quality tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers ever since they were shipping under their ABC brand thru GAC Produce, have been operating International Greenhouse Produce S.A. de C.V. since 1995.
“IGP has grown to be the largest contiguous greenhouse operation of the Americas with great quality and volume,” Avila said. Going forward, IGP will start shipping all of its tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers under its own new labels Garden Queen, Bountyfull and Arista brands.
International Greenhouse Produce S.A. de C.V. is based in Culiacan, Sinaloa, and Malena sources in Sonora, Sinaloa and Nayarit.
Jim Cathey, who recently became the sales manager of Malena Produce, said eggplant is the new alliance’s one core item that is available on a year-round basis.
Avila noted that both companies are third-generation family businesses, both started in Mexico by Greek immigrants.
“Our two companies, which have been around for over five decades, have joined forces to market our production,” Avila reiterated. As the marketing company, Malena “will now have under one roof the best eggplant and squash, along with the best tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.”
This winter, Malena will be working from two Nogales warehouses. The firm will also be shipping product from McAllen, TX. Malena will be offering the Mexican vegetable commodity mix to North American retailers, foodservice, wholesalers and brokers.
Cathey also announced the hiring of Juan Carlos Medina to join the Malena sales staff. Medina previously worked for Rene Produce in Nogales and “has experience in selling all of the commodities we are handling.”
In addition to Cathey, the Malena sales team now includes Luis Galaviz, Sergio Manriquez, Bill Olvey and Christian Torres, plus two sales coordinators.
Malena’s fall deal has just begun with squash, which will be followed by eggplants, slicer cucumbers and eurocukes, Cathey said.