Fresh from the Start Gearing Up for Maine Broccoli; Eric Scannelli Discusses
RIVERHEAD, NY - It is that time of year again when Fresh from the Start is gearing up for its Maine Broccoli season—the company’s largest program of the year.
Fresh from the Start expects to start shipping in mid-July and the company anticipates another great crop this year. Eric Scannelli, Senior VP of Sales and Marketing gives us some insights on this years’ crop and their Maine Broccoli program.
Q: What makes Maine broccoli unique and what are the benefits?
Northern Maine has cool nights, warm days, and clean, fresh water which are optimal conditions for broccoli farming.
Maine broccoli is also fresher for our customers on the East Coast. Our product is picked, packed, and shipped all in the same day, resulting in ultimate freshness for our East Coast customers.
Q: Tell us about the process from the field to shipping.
Once our broccoli is ready to be harvested, it is boxed and packed in the field. The box is then pre-cooled with a Slush Ice Injection System and then it’s ready for shipping. In-house inspectors are on-site to inspect each load. There is limited to no storage time on our end, the broccoli is harvested, iced, and shipped in the same day. Additionally, 80% of the Maine broccoli is Asian Cut Crowns, available in 14ct. with 18ct. bunches also available.
Q: Hapco Farms has been shipping broccoli for over 20 years, has the demand for broccoli increased over the years?
Yes, definitely. First off, more people are eating broccoli today than they were 20 years ago. This is driving the demand up at the retail level. Also, production of Maine broccoli has increased due to consistent variety testing resulting in better quality product over the years. The popularity of “locally-grown” produce also has helped drive demand on the East Coast.
Q: When does the Maine broccoli season officially start?
We begin shipping in mid-July and we ship through October. But for us, the season never stops. In the winter we are researching seed varieties, options in shipping boxes, as well as innovations in traceability and food safety initiatives. Prior to seeding, there is also field preparation and crop rotation. We are involved throughout the entire process, which is a full year cycle.
We ship broccoli year-round with our Western program and Maine program, making it seamless for our customers.
As the Maine broccoli season gets underway, stay tuned to AndNowUKnow for more industry updates and news from across the category.