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Stellar Distributing offers kiwi year-round

There are people who want to enjoy kiwifruit all year long, and Stellar Distributing is helping consumers to appreciate the flavors of this delicious and healthy fruit 365 days of the year.

“We do kiwi 24/7,” said Kurt Cappelluti, sales manager at Stellar Distributing, based in Madera, CA. “We do about 400 to 500 pallets a week, 52 weeks of the year. And because the Northern and Southern hemispheres complement each other, we have it available all year.”

27 Stellar Distributing was started by Paul Catania Jr. in 1992, and since that time the company has gone from 100,000 trays of kiwi to close to 3 million today. It’s a subsidiary of Catania Worldwide, and it is dedicated to providing high-quality service and products, including fresh figs, kiwifruit, persimmons, pomegranates, limes and more.

“Kiwis are core for Stellar,” Cappelluti said.

He attributes the company’s success as a leader in California kiwi with forward-thinking initiatives, such as a commitment to organic kiwi and increased cold storage with two facilities in California that are 10 miles from each other, which allows Stellar to supply organic and conventional kiwi from California through June.

“We do have military and other individuals who only expressly want California kiwi,” Cappelluti said.

Stellar also is fully diversified with Greek and Italian Kiwi. It’s those crops that allow the company to offer kiwi all year-round. And this year’s kiwi crop from those countries looks promising.

“The crop seems to be about 50 percent larger than the last year,” Cappelluti said. “There are some really great options. It was difficult last year to really feature kiwi and give them a great deal and with a 50-percent larger crop, things can go back to normal.”

That robust crop also will provide retailers the opportunity to offer three or four kiwi for a dollar, which can boost sales, according to Cappelluti.

“That wasn’t really available last year, so that may be more active than the clamshells because if you can get four good-sized piece of kiwi for a dollar, that’s a reasonable purchase for a household instead of buying a clamshell, which is like $3.99 or $4.99,” he said.

Also helping is a new cooler in Vineland, NJ, which, along with the new cooler in California, means high-quality kiwi is a fruit for all seasons.

“We have the resources to provide great kiwi year-round,” Cappelluti said. “We’ll have some really good deals on kiwi this year because of the larger crop year-round.”