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SunFed backing up ‘Perfect Produce’

EMPALME, SONORA — “Perfect Produce” is gracefully emblazoned on a towering black marble foyer wall at SunFed’s headquarters. The company’s stylish new black consumer packaging and corresponding industry t-shirts promote “Perfect Produce.” And promotions and packaging push “Perfect Cucumbers,” “Perfect Squash” or “Perfect Melons.”Perfect-CucumbersShowing SunFed’s new ‘Perfect Cucumbers’ t-shirt are cucumber grower Santiago Zaragoza with SunFed’s Matt Mandel.

Matt Mandel, SunFed’s vice president of sales and marketing, recognizes this “Perfect” approach is rather forward. Brett Burdsal, SunFed’s new director of marketing, is unabashed in his artistic “Perfect” approach from the firm’s headquarters in Rio Rico, AZ.

The company’s premiere brand is “SunFed,” and Mandel said everything to be packed in that brand is top quality. The firm has two other brands: “SunOne” and “Almost Famous.”

This year marks SunFed’s 20th anniversary. “In 18 of the 20 years we focused exclusively on the production side,” Mandel said. “Now we focus on the tag line ‘Perfect Produce,’ which requires doing everything as well as you possibly can. Brett is here to help us reinvent ourselves. He is very much outside the box. I’m not sure he knows there is a box. I think that is a good thing — to have fresh ideas and fresh ways to be looking to improve the company, our processes and protocols. We built the company based on being conservative. So we are not getting too far out. We are going forward in metered steps.”

Juan-Ramon-SanchezStanding before an irrigation pond at Agricola Bay Hermanos near Empalme, Sonora, are Juan Ramon Sanchez, Brett Burdsal and Matt Mandel. To assure quality and management control of its new packaging, SunFed has slowed rolling out the “Perfect Produce” consumer campaign introduced in October at the PMA Fresh Summit in Anaheim, CA.

Burdsal said his job “is to expand on a phenomenal brand.”

Offering perfect produce is quite a challenge for a shipper-distributor that is intimately involved with 51 growers scattered along Mexico’s west coast.

To demonstrate the quality of programs shipping perfect produce to the Rio Rico distribution center, Mandel and Burdsal escorted The Produce News to Empalme, Sonora, Dec. 10-11. Empalme is a scenic Gulf of California commercial fishing port located about four hours south of Nogales. The farming area visited by The Produce News is cultivated from seemingly virgin desert land to the east and south of Empalme. Empalme is across a small blue bay from the better-known commercial seaport of Guaymas. The region is in Yaqui Valley, which is fed by rich rivers and good wells.

yellow-squash-harvestAt Agricola Bay Hermanos, squash harvesters maximize efficiency through use of an ‘águila.’ Águila is Spanish for ‘eagle.’ The machine has wide conveyor belts — wings — to carry plastic field bins to the central trailer. This tour involved two growers: Agricola Bay Hermanos and Agroproductos San Rafael, S.A. de C.V., Empalme, Sonora. Santiago Zaragoza owns the San Rafael operation.

Agricola Bay Hermanos is owned by three brothers. Lorenzo Bay operates the Empalme farm. His brothers, Fausto Bay and Bernardo Bay, operate two separate farms to the north of Hermosillo. Collectively, the Bay brothers produce more than 2,500 acres of vegetables.

“They started with 30 hectares (90 acres) almost 10 years ago,” Mandel said. “They have very sophisticated operations. They exemplify the concept that we don’t work with farmers, but with businessmen who are in the agricultural industry. They invest in their operations, including their people. That is what made them successful, their attention to detail. A lot of what they do mirrors the SunFed mentality.”

Squash varieties — notably zucchini, yellow, straight neck and Mexican grey squash — are the primary crop for Bay brothers. Mandel said the grey squash has grown so much in demand that it surpasses yellow squash in production on the Bay farms. Grey squash has long been popular in Mexico, but consumers north of the border and gaining an appreciation for its good taste. Bay grows about 90 acres of organic vegetables at any given time.

The Bays are increasing their production of conventional and seedless watermelons, as well as cantaloupe.

At Agroproductos San Rafael, Zaragoza produces about a thousand acres of cucumbers, squash, cantaloupe, watermelon, mini-watermelons, green and colored Bell peppers and jalapenos.

Empalme production is timed to generally, but not absolutely, precede and succeed vegetable production in Culiacan, which is a few hours to the south. Culiacan production runs from mid-November until March.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

SunFed announces sponsorship of Olympic hopeful Sofia Arreola

Sofia-21Sofia-2SunFed strives daily to grow, pack and deliver Perfect Produce. But that is not always easy… perfection never is.

Sofia Arreola, National Track Champion and two time silver medalist at the 2013 World Championships, also strives for perfection every day. That quest for perfection is something SunFed can relate to, making its decision to sponsor her quest for Olympic gold in 2016 a very easy one.

“I met Sofia about a year ago,” said Brett Burdsal, SunFed’s director of marketing. “I was immediately impressed, not only by what she had accomplished on the bike, but with her attitude and outlook on life. She is an incredibly bright and articulate young lady. She is giving everything she has to a very demanding sport. To me she embodies the healthy, active person that, regardless of age or gender, we should all strive to be.”

Arreola, who resides in Colorado Springs and races for Team TWENTY16, will be competing in the upcoming UCI track World Cups, which will include stops in Mexico, Great Britain, Columbia and France.

“Fruits and vegetables are such an important part of my day, my week, and my life,” she said. “Being able to partner with SunFed is great. I look forward to enjoying all of their incredibly fresh produce they will be sending. Absolutely nothing beats enjoying full flavored fruit or fresh vegetables as I am training, recovering or just hanging out. I am so excited by this partnership.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

SunFed announces sponsorship of Olympic hopeful Sofia Arreola

Sofia-21Sofia-2SunFed strives daily to grow, pack and deliver Perfect Produce. But that is not always easy… perfection never is.

Sofia Arreola, National Track Champion and two time silver medalist at the 2013 World Championships, also strives for perfection every day. That quest for perfection is something SunFed can relate to, making its decision to sponsor her quest for Olympic gold in 2016 a very easy one.

“I met Sofia about a year ago,” said Brett Burdsal, SunFed’s director of marketing. “I was immediately impressed, not only by what she had accomplished on the bike, but with her attitude and outlook on life. She is an incredibly bright and articulate young lady. She is giving everything she has to a very demanding sport. To me she embodies the healthy, active person that, regardless of age or gender, we should all strive to be.”

Arreola, who resides in Colorado Springs and races for Team TWENTY16, will be competing in the upcoming UCI track World Cups, which will include stops in Mexico, Great Britain, Columbia and France.

“Fruits and vegetables are such an important part of my day, my week, and my life,” she said. “Being able to partner with SunFed is great. I look forward to enjoying all of their incredibly fresh produce they will be sending. Absolutely nothing beats enjoying full flavored fruit or fresh vegetables as I am training, recovering or just hanging out. I am so excited by this partnership.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

SunFed announces sponsorship of Olympic hopeful Sofia Arreola

Sofia-21Sofia-2SunFed strives daily to grow, pack and deliver Perfect Produce. But that is not always easy… perfection never is.

Sofia Arreola, National Track Champion and two time silver medalist at the 2013 World Championships, also strives for perfection every day. That quest for perfection is something SunFed can relate to, making its decision to sponsor her quest for Olympic gold in 2016 a very easy one.

“I met Sofia about a year ago,” said Brett Burdsal, SunFed’s director of marketing. “I was immediately impressed, not only by what she had accomplished on the bike, but with her attitude and outlook on life. She is an incredibly bright and articulate young lady. She is giving everything she has to a very demanding sport. To me she embodies the healthy, active person that, regardless of age or gender, we should all strive to be.”

Arreola, who resides in Colorado Springs and races for Team TWENTY16, will be competing in the upcoming UCI track World Cups, which will include stops in Mexico, Great Britain, Columbia and France.

“Fruits and vegetables are such an important part of my day, my week, and my life,” she said. “Being able to partner with SunFed is great. I look forward to enjoying all of their incredibly fresh produce they will be sending. Absolutely nothing beats enjoying full flavored fruit or fresh vegetables as I am training, recovering or just hanging out. I am so excited by this partnership.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

SunFed announces sponsorship of Olympic hopeful Sofia Arreola

Sofia-21Sofia-2SunFed strives daily to grow, pack and deliver Perfect Produce. But that is not always easy… perfection never is.

Sofia Arreola, National Track Champion and two time silver medalist at the 2013 World Championships, also strives for perfection every day. That quest for perfection is something SunFed can relate to, making its decision to sponsor her quest for Olympic gold in 2016 a very easy one.

“I met Sofia about a year ago,” said Brett Burdsal, SunFed’s director of marketing. “I was immediately impressed, not only by what she had accomplished on the bike, but with her attitude and outlook on life. She is an incredibly bright and articulate young lady. She is giving everything she has to a very demanding sport. To me she embodies the healthy, active person that, regardless of age or gender, we should all strive to be.”

Arreola, who resides in Colorado Springs and races for Team TWENTY16, will be competing in the upcoming UCI track World Cups, which will include stops in Mexico, Great Britain, Columbia and France.

“Fruits and vegetables are such an important part of my day, my week, and my life,” she said. “Being able to partner with SunFed is great. I look forward to enjoying all of their incredibly fresh produce they will be sending. Absolutely nothing beats enjoying full flavored fruit or fresh vegetables as I am training, recovering or just hanging out. I am so excited by this partnership.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

SunFed announces sponsorship of Olympic hopeful Sofia Arreola

Sofia-21Sofia-2SunFed strives daily to grow, pack and deliver Perfect Produce. But that is not always easy… perfection never is.

Sofia Arreola, National Track Champion and two time silver medalist at the 2013 World Championships, also strives for perfection every day. That quest for perfection is something SunFed can relate to, making its decision to sponsor her quest for Olympic gold in 2016 a very easy one.

“I met Sofia about a year ago,” said Brett Burdsal, SunFed’s director of marketing. “I was immediately impressed, not only by what she had accomplished on the bike, but with her attitude and outlook on life. She is an incredibly bright and articulate young lady. She is giving everything she has to a very demanding sport. To me she embodies the healthy, active person that, regardless of age or gender, we should all strive to be.”

Arreola, who resides in Colorado Springs and races for Team TWENTY16, will be competing in the upcoming UCI track World Cups, which will include stops in Mexico, Great Britain, Columbia and France.

“Fruits and vegetables are such an important part of my day, my week, and my life,” she said. “Being able to partner with SunFed is great. I look forward to enjoying all of their incredibly fresh produce they will be sending. Absolutely nothing beats enjoying full flavored fruit or fresh vegetables as I am training, recovering or just hanging out. I am so excited by this partnership.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

SunFed Produce names Brett Burdsal to marketing post

SunFed Produce, based in Rio Rico, AZ, has hired Brett Burdsal as director of marketing, a new position.

Burdsal told The Produce News “this is a phenomenal opportunity with a company with such a great reputation for growing unbelievably high-quality produce,” adding that working with SunFed’s highly-professional staff “will make my job easy.”

Burdsal was hired away from Columbia Marketing International, based in Wenatchee, WA, to “take SunFed to the next level,” including working more closely with both consumers and retailers, he said.

SunFed’s approach to produce retailers will not only involve “marketing, but category management, as well.”

“Retail buyers and wholesalers know who we are because of the 20-year reputation of Danny Mandel,” who is SunFed’s president and chief executive officer. On the other hand, consumers don’t necessarily know the “SunFed” brand, Burdsal said. For SunFed to be a household name, the proper packaging and market outreach is necessary.

“My job is to communicate with consumers, and also retailers, and to be a true partner on a lot of items.”

SunFed “has an incredible story” to be told regarding its organic products. The firm “also has a lot of product that is certified as Fair Trade and it is all non-GMO. These are all stories to bring to consumers.”

Other stories to be told involve the careful selection of varieties for flavor and relating how Mexico is such an important produce supplier for the U.S. market. In addition to Mexico, SunFed sources produce out of the Dominican Republic and Guatemala. 

Burdsal said the key commodities shipped by SunFed are squash, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew and Bell peppers.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.