Veteran produce marketer Jim Pandol has read the stories and heard about the double-digit growth occurring in the organic produce sector, with demand outstripping supply. He began exploring opportunities, lined up suppliers and hung out a virtual for sale sign.
But sales have been slow. “We have supply, but we haven’t done as well as we thought,” he told the Organic Produce Network during the recent Produce Marketing Association convention in New Orleans. “Buyers are ordering pallets of berries but we thought they’d be ordering much more.”
In fact, Pandol was at the convention for the expressed purpose of finding more buyers for organic produce. He claims to have the growers looking to increase supplies but he needs buyers for growers to know their transition is worth the effort.
Jim Pandol Marketing is headquartered in Selma, CA, with a field office in Michoacan, Mexico, that is wholly focused on finding supplies of fresh fruits and vegetables – organic and conventional – to sell into the United States.
Currently, the company has organic blueberries and blackberries from Mexico and is expecting to start an organic strawberry deal in the not-so-distant future. “We expect to have organic Persian, Long English, and American Slicer cucumbers available starting about mid-December,” he told OPN in early November.
During that discussion, Pandol said the company’s organic grape deal from California was winding down, but when Mexico begins shipping again next spring, he will have an organic deal.
The company also is involved with bell peppers and avocados from Mexico and Pandol is looking for organic suppliers of those items. He said growers that he has contacted look at the organic sector in a couple of different ways. While some are focused on the environment and committed to producing crops in what they believe is a more sustainable way, others are looking for a marketing opportunity.