Crowley Logistics, Caribbean Produce Exchange Inc. (CPE) and Puerto Rico farmers recently shipped a container filled with fresh fruits, plantains and other “Son de Aquí” local products to the Puerto Rican and Hispanic communities of New York City affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
CPE is the leading Puerto Rico distributor of fresh produce and consumer products.
The container included 16,000 lbs. of fruit and produce, such as pineapples from Manatí, Santa Isabel papayas and Guánica green plantains. The shipment arrived for distribution through Baldor Specialty Foods’ facility in the South Bronx. The food will be distributed to seniors and low-income families and at community centers that serve vulnerable populations in the city through a partnership with City Harvest, a non-profit food rescue mission. In addition, employees who work as first-line responders for Baldor and other first-responders will be receiving fresh produce as part of this donation.
The container, provided and shipped from San Juan, Puerto Rico, by Crowley Logistics, part of Crowley Maritime Corp., also included a variety of Wana Bana tropical fruit purées ideal for children, senior citizens and people with diabetic conditions. These products are 100% natural, pasteurized and sugar free, allowing for non-refrigerated storage. The container arrived on Crowley’s containership Taíno in Jacksonville, Fla., and was trucked this weekend into New York City for distribution to people in need.
“Crowley has always striven to help people in the communities in which we live, work and serve, and this partnership continues the longstanding commitment by the company and our employees,” Sal Menoyo, Crowley Logistics vice president for Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, said in a statement. “We know we all need to work together to help each other in response to Covid-19, so it was our pleasure to transport the donated fruits and produce from CPE to Baldor Foods on our LNG-powered ship, MV Taíno, from Puerto Rico to the U.S. mainland.”
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, CPE has been helping farmers sell their products including fruits, vegetables, dairy products and protein throughout non-traditional channels and other platforms, as a consequence of the quarantine lockdown and curfew ordered by the local government. The lockdown closed schools and cafeterias as well as restaurants and hundreds of food service locations that have been forced to close temporarily also. All of this has affected the harvests and sales of fresh produce on the Island. According to Ángel Santiago, president and CEO of CPE, this support program to farmers has yielded in opening doors and providing effective solutions for fresh produce placement in new trade channels.
“We want to thank our allies in this initiative for helping us bring the flavors, colors and freshness of our farms to the Bronx area at a time when these communities are experiencing an unprecedented crisis. Given the challenges we are facing with the coronavirus, keeping our citizens properly nourished can help strengthen their immune systems and this is a top priority. Thanks to this phenomenal synergy along with Baldor Foods and Crowley Maritime, we have been able to bring hope, strength and embrace our Puerto Rican brothers in New York with genuine solidarity,” said Santiago.
Baldor, headquartered in the South Bronx, is one of the largest importers and distributors of fresh produce and specialty foods in the Northeast. Baldor Cares, the company’s social responsibility platform, works with a wide array of non-profit entities such as “City Harvest” in New York, to provide food for hundreds of thousands of citizens in need throughout the Tri-State area annually.
“We are grateful at Baldor Specialty Foods for the kind gesture of Caribbean Produce to send to us a shipment of delicious fruit from Puerto Rico,” said Baldor’s Thomas McQuillan, vice president for Strategy, Culture and Sustainability. “We will share this produce with our colleagues at Baldor and with people living in the South Bronx. So many of our neighbors hail from the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. It is heartwarming to know that people can be so generous during a time of crisis and uncertainty.”