by Tad Thompson | October 20, 2016

Nogales produce veteran Bobby Astengo has created a new company, Peppers Plus LLC. The firm is located in the brand new Santa Cruz Cold Storage building in Rio Rico, AZ. Astengo was previously a partner in Healthy Trends Produce LLC.

The two firms are very similar in growers and products. Astengo said that he had a cordial split with the majority owner of Healthy Trends Produce, now an inactive company.

At Peppers Plus, Astengo is the majority stockholder in partnership with the primary Bell pepper grower who supplied Healthy Trends. At Peppers Plus, Jorge Murillo and other staff continue to work with Astengo, who plans to start shipping Sinaloa peppers in early to mid-December this year. Early December shipping would be about 10 days ahead of the norm.

Peppers Plus “is a win-win for the farm and the marketing team,” he said. “We are partnered and create efficiencies with sales having a say in production, and they in turn have ‘skin in the game’ and share in the new venture’s gains.”

Astengo said Mexican greenhouse red, yellow and orange Bell peppers remain his primary item. The firm also ships winter hard shell squash, such as Acorn, Spaghetti and Butternut.

Astengo said that Hurricane Newtown, which swept into western Mexico from the Baja Peninsula in the first week of September, did not negatively affect the state of Sinaloa, where Peppers Plus grows most of its crops.

“Our crops are coming along nicely,” he said. “We’re a little ahead of schedule.”