(Jan. 12) MIAMI — The new leaders of the Peruvian Asparagus Importers Association say they want the group to improve the marketing and production information of the product they ship into the U.S.

John Campbell Barmmer, vice president of marketing for Bounty Fresh Produce Corp., Miami, and Matt DeCarlo, president of Altar Produce LLC, Calexico, Calif., were elected co-chairmen of the 27-member group of asparagus importers and brokers on Jan. 4.

“This is an organization that started from nowhere three years ago,” Barmmer said.

“We have an aggressive agenda to bring more top of mind with the mass marketers about the value of the Peruvian asparagus program,” he said.

SPREADING THE WORD

Barmmer said the story hasn’t been widely told how Peruvian grower-shippers since 2001 have invested millions of dollars in upgrading the country’s infrastructure to meet food safety requirements and provide for a more consistent product.

Accurate production information would help the importers work better with U.S. retailers, DeCarlo said.

“There are so many different growers and geographic regions that make it difficult to get a handle on production trends out of there,” he said.

“My goal is to improve that information. That will have the most quantitative benefit on the importers’ and exporters’ side.”

BETTER METHODS

DeCarlo said he would like members of the importers and exporters associations to meet and try to develop a more systematic or scientific method of determining production.

County-of-origin labeling and bioterrorism are among the other trade issues the association plans to tackle.

Peru ships asparagus year-round. Most production, however, enters U.S. shores July through January.