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Prime Time invests in mini peppers and asparagus

Prime Time International considers itself a decent-sized player in Nogales, dealing with three growers that provide hothouse peppers and mini peppers. Both categories have recorded increases this year for Prime Time, thanks to a new grower focusing more on the mini variety and a larger commitment to bell peppers by the others.

“On the hothouse, we’re up about 25 percent this year,” said Brian Miller, director of business development for Coachella, CA-based Prime Time International. “The mini peppers are seeing an increase of about 40 percent compared to last year’s numbers. There’s no question the mini peppers are becoming more popular each year.”prime-time-2-webSweet mini peppers from Prime Time.

The reason for their popularity has to do with a rise in sales with many of the younger generations, including millennials and children.

“They eat them like candy. They’re sweet and good for you,” Miller said. “It’s definitely an item that has been increasing annually in different demographics.”

Being successful in peppers takes a lot of work and a strong infrastructure, as it is not an easy crop to grow. Miller noted that it is not always easy to get the right peppers across the border from Mexico and the company spends a lot of time in the chain from growing to packing to shipping successfully.

As of mid-November, the company has been pleased with what it is seeing in the Nogales weather and the crops that are growing.

“We’ve had a nice run of weather and the yields look to be good,” Miller said. “We’ve been crossing peppers for almost three weeks. The quality is as good as we’ve ever had, and we’ve already crossed more peppers than the year before.”

Prime Time International mostly deals with 3- and 4-count hothouse peppers and almost all the mini peppers are sold in 1- and 2-pound bags.

Having recently added a grower to its Nogales team, Prime Time is always on the lookout for solid growers to work with.

“They need to be self-sufficient, they need to have some infrastructure and they need to be professional,” Miller said. “We get a lot of offers from people to sell their peppers, but we want to work with the right people. Food safety is another area that is very important to us and what we do down there.”

Prime Time recently decided to jump into the asparagus business and in October, began working with that same new mini-pepper grower in Mexico on the new product category for the company. That means the company will be able to offer asparagus from October through April.