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Peppers Plus moving forward

rio rico, az — Enjoying “conservative growth,” Peppers Plus LLC is moving ahead this season with green, red, yellow and orange blocky Bell peppers remaining the firm’s core item.

Bobby Astengo, managing director, said the firm has moved from marketing 100 acres of mesh-house Bells a year ago to 112 acres this season.

Astengo is also offering hard shell squash to his customers.

Shade-Higueral-peppersPeppers Plus LLC is moving ahead this season with green, red, yellow and orange blocky Bell peppers remaining the firm’s core item.“Even with all the weather we experienced in early September, we’ve managed to come out fairly well. And, because of the changing weather patterns we’ve seen about everywhere — with an unseasonably cool October —we’ve seen perfect growing conditions for Bell peppers.”

A heavy set of peppers is slated for a Dec. 1 start.

“That’s one or two weeks earlier than usual for us,” he said. These Bells are to run until mid-May.

The Bells are grown near the Sonora border in northern Sinaloa.

“We had a successful season last year. It was a tough season for many. But I’m glad to say that we came out successfully and we continue to grow, on average, 10 to 15 percent per year.”

Peppers Plus’ hard squash was ready to plant when the September rains arrived. What caused “a chaotic season” was not so much what happened in the field but what happened to the people who work in the field.

Some workers living in low-lying areas of northern Sinaloa lost their homes in September flooding, which was as much as six feet deep. After they dealt with their own personal hardships, then they returned to work.

Now, the hard squash deal with be a month late, with expectations of shipping from Dec. 15 until June 1.

In the spring, Peppers Plus shipped some table grapes produced in Caborca, Sonora. “We weathered the storm, but the late grape deal was trial by fire. There were too many grapes followed by not enough.” Retailers had pulled back from their promotions due to supply problems earlier in the Mexican grape deal.

“In the end, we came out ok” in the grape business, Astengo said.