Page 106 - December2018
P. 106

Travers Fruit also experiences diversi ed
sales. “Along with the daily berry, fruit and onion demands, there is a growing demand for oriental cabbages and bok choy,” says Travers. “Seasonally, we also o er multiple sizes of cups/trays of pre-cut fruit.”
Ruma Fruit & Produce Co. has estab- lished a niche marketing ramps,  ddlehead ferns, and wild Maine blueberries. “Fiddle- heads are up 8 to 10 percent over last year,” says Jim Ruma, president. “We are o ering an
Phil Silva, Doug Travers, Richie Travers, Paul Travers, Jeff Larrabee and Nick Spinale of Travers Fruit
8-ounce tray now, using a high-graphic color label with preparation instructions, a website and a taste summary.”
 e season and availability for  ddleheads depend on the weather, according to Ruma. “It’s usually May and June, but some years we’ve gone as late as July,” he says. “Some- times it starts early if there’s no snow, such as late April.”
Ruma reports consistent and increasing demand for wild blueberries from Maine. “We see very regional demand because you can’t ship them too far,” he says. “We pack in a pulp pint with a plastic dome cover, giving a farm-stand fresh feel but still protecting the product.”
One notable change in product mix is the continued growth of prepared foods, in part driven by consumer lifestyles, according to J. Cerasulo’s DeAngelo. “ ere are less stay-at- home mothers who cook from scratch, and this has a ected the business,” he says. “ irty years ago, during the week of  anksgiving you’d sell 500 boxes of sweet potatoes a day. Now, if you sell 20 a day, it might be a lot. Now, consumers are looking for value-added products instead.”
Changes in the foodservice labor market also drive greater demand for prepped or pre-cut produce. “With so many new restau- rants and a shortage of quali ed people to work in those restaurants, operators are looking for solutions,” says Burke. “It’s a competitive labor market. We are stepping in to help these operations with all the di erent cuts and products we o er.”
Labor has been an issue in this area for quite a while now agrees McGinn. “Whole- salers began looking for more for prepped product as of 10 years ago, so it’s nothing new but the trend continues,” he says. “Coose- mans has done well with peeled pearl onions, peeled cipollini onions and snipped green beans.”

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