Progressive Produce’s recent acquisition of Mission Asparagus has propelled the grower into the elite of asparagus suppliers, according to the company. Already growing thousands of acres in Mexico, Peru, California and Washington State, some in partnership with Keystone Fruit Marketing, Greencastle, Pa., Progressive’s increased Mexico and California acreage has solidified its year-round availability.
“This year-round availability is critical to our customer base,” said Progressive VP and owner Victor Rodarte. “Our ability to fill our customers’ needs at critical holiday periods, along with creating a four-season program, makes us more valuable to our retail and foodservice customers. It’s all about our customers.”
Added Jim Leimkuhler, Progressive president and owner, “The Mission deal has also added logistics strength along with significant acreage to our program. We have sales offices in Los Angeles, Walla Walla, Dallas, Vero Beach, Greencastle, Pa., and Lima, Peru, in conjunction with Keystone Fruit Marketing, so our reach is not only nationwide but international. We will also have pick up locations across the country convenient to our national customer base, in Los Angeles and El Centro, Calif., Yuma, Ariz., Miami, Fla., Vineland, N.J., and Washington State. We are now growing acreage in three countries, including critical fields in California and Washington.”
Progressive also added valuable sales talent in the deal, with sales manager Cruz Carrera moving to Progressive from Mission.
“Cruz has long experience and deep relationships in the asparagus world, and we welcome Cruz to Progressive’s experienced sales team of Gary Meadows and Cory Stahl, along with general manager Don Hessel, ” Rodarte said. “We are very pleased to have an enviable line up of talent in our Asparagus team.”
Jack Gyberi, Progressive VP and owner, said, “We can sell our customers the asparagus program they want in the form they want to sell it, and the consumers want to buy it. We pack and sell 11- and 28-lb. bulk in all sizes, along with white asparagus and Tender Tips, and multiple consumer packages including club packs and microwaveable. We have the resources to help our valued customers grow their asparagus sales and profits as a category partner. We want to be a key success factor to our valued customers, not just another supplier. We know Country of Origin Labeling and our facilities are food safety certified.”
According to Leimkuhler, “We are committed to Mission’s customers and grower partners. This business is a major focus for us, and with our superior team and Keystone/Progressive partnership, we intend to set a high standard in the asparagus world, worthy of the Progressive Produce name.”
Progressive Produce is a grower, packer and shipper based in Los Angeles with distribution and offices in Quincy, Wash., and Bakersfield, Calif.
In the feature photo at top are Cruz Carrera, Don Hessel (back), Cory Stahl and Gary Meadows.