Catania Worldwide gears up for Mexican fig deal in the U.S. -

Catania Worldwide gears up for Mexican fig deal in the U.S.

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Catania Worldwide gears up for Mexican fig deal in the U.S.

Ontario-based Catania Worldwide plans to double its Mexican fig imports in 2015-16, but this year they won't only be going to Canada. Paul Catania

During the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Fresh Summit in Atlanta over the weekend, company owner Paul Catania told he expected the first shipments to be ready in late November with the campaign carrying through to the end of April.

The deal marks the first full season of Mexican figs for the U.S. market since the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) approved them for market entry in late March.

"As the deal is brand new to us in the United States we're still trying to dial everything in. I'm walking a bit of a tightrope because people are asking, 'when do you start? How much can I have?'" he said

"The one thing I don't want to do is make promises to customers both in Canada and the U.S. and not deliver.

"This season [from Mexico] we'll be running black mission figs only – next season I will have green figs and tiger figs available as the trees mature."

While in Canada the fruit does not need to be irradiated, the treatment is necessary for the U.S. market under APHIS's guidelines.

"With the irradiation process, some people may not want irradiated fruits because the connotation of irradiation, but really it doesn't damage the fruit – it's like getting an x-ray at the doctor or the dentist," Catania said.

"The irradiation process is basically to protect from Medfly infestations. It doesn’t even kill the Medfly; it sterilizes it so that it can’t breed. It's as simple as that."

He said the figs were grown on Catania's leased land in Cuernavaca, south of Mexico City.

"We've tried to get to farm differently, somewhat similar to what we do in California, so we're pruning and tipping the trees to try and bring the fruit on at a certain time, using the same technology we use in California with our Californian farmers overseeing them.

"We do limes all year round, we do kiwifruit all year round, and very soon we’re going to have figs very close to all year round, of course along with my figs in California during the summer months."

Readers can click here for more stories from PMA Fresh Summit 2015.



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