(Oct. 5) Chiquita Brands International Inc. might have parted ways with its longtime Mexican grower, but the Cincinnati-based company still will play a significant role in the Mexican import deal.

Chiquita has moved into offices at CMMV LLC, Nogales, Ariz., on a year-round basis. The company had leased space in the 75,000-square-foot cold-storage facility in the past on a seasonal basis for the Mexican grape deal.

Melones Internacional SA de CV, Culiacan, Mexico, recently announced it will distribute its greenhouse tomatoes, colored bell peppers and cucumbers under its own Plain Jane label, ending a decade-long relationship with Chiquita. Melones Internacional expects to ship about 4.5 million cartons this season and 6 million next season.

Chiquita salesman Esteban Dabdoub Hernandez said Chiquita had planned to increase its Mexican volume this year and already had new growers lined up when Melones cut off its volume. He said Chiquita’s new growers, whom he declined to name, are expected to produce 4.8 million cartons of tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, bell peppers and honeydews from hothouses, shade houses and open fields in the Mexican states of Sonora, Sinaloa and Baja California.

He said Chiquita — which imports Baja product through San Diego and crosses Sonora and Sinaloa product through Nogales — plans to increase that volume to 8 million cartons next season and more than 10 million the following year.

In the past, Chiquita’s Mexican vegetable sales staff worked out of offices at Apache Produce Co., Nogales, which provided warehouse services for the company. Apache, however, is continuing to work with Melones Internacional.

The change brings Chiquita to seven-year-old CMMV — a joint venture of Ciruli Bros. LLC, Meyer LLC, Beto Mayer Forwarding and Valencia International. CMMV, which will handle warehouse services for Chiquita, installed the bar-code-based Priya warehouse management system last year. The facility has 20 dock doors, room for 3,000 pallets and is PrimusLabs.com-certified.