(June 26) Lima, Peru-based WEA Farms started just 16 months ago.

But it is already planning to distribute 200,000 cases of asparagus across the U.S. this year, said Peter Warren, partner.

They won’t be just any cases of asparagus, though. WEA Farms targets high-end customers — people who want value-added products, Warren said.

Value-added asparagus is the norm in Europe, but Warren said it’s just beginning to catch on in the U.S.

“Europe is more willing and able to demand the prices that we need for higher-end packaging. They’re used to punnets and wrapped and bags,” Warren said.

WEA offers a Eurowrap of a 10-ounce bunch wrapped in plastic film, with a Universal Product Code. It features cooking ideas, as well. The Eurowraps retail from $2.89-3.89 but seem to do best at $3.49, Warren said.

Three retailers in the Northeast and three in the Southeast are testing the Eurowraps in their stores.

Along with the Eurowraps, WEA Farms markets grilling asparagus, tray packs, asparagus tips and microwaveable asparagus in bags. The grower-shipper also offers an asparagus tray display pack.

Though asparagus is its main commodity, WEA Farms also ships mangoes, snow peas and onions. WEA Farms represents more than 600 acres across Peru, and it distributes to the U.S., Europe, Brazil and Argentina.

Warren has served as director of international operations for Boca Raton, Fla.-based Rosemont Farms Corp., general manager of Pompano Beach, Fla.-based Sun America Imports, owner and general manager of Pompano Beach-based Americas Produce Co. Inc. and vice president of Philadelphia-based Winter Fruit Distributors.

In early 2005, Warren was barred from affiliating with any Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act licensee until Jan. 30. He was responsibly connected to Americas Produce Co. Inc., Pompano Beach, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited for willful, repeated and flagrant violations of the PACA.