(March 7, 3:59 p.m.) PLEASANTON, Calif. — At Fresh Produce & Floral Council 2008 Northern California Expo, Tavilla Sales Co., Los Angeles, introduced its new program to bring pineapples from Veracruz, Mexico, into the U.S.

Nancy Betancourt, director of national sales, said the program began in late December.

“It is an MD-2-variety gold pineapple,” she said. “It is a true, traditional gold pineapple with a very nice brix sugar level, averaging anywhere from 13% to 16% sugar.”

She said the company has the exclusive rights to the variety in the U.S.

“We bring it in through Texas, and into the Los Angeles and Phoenix areas, where we’re working with retailers, foodservice and processors. The product is doing very well,” she said. “We plan on doing this all year, bringing it in under the Pinicola label.”

“Nancy came to Tavilla in January, specifically to head the pineapple program,” said Dan Lawton, sales manager. “We started with one load a week (about 43,000 pounds) and now we’re up to five loads a week because it’s become so popular.”