Growers work to grow organic berry supplies

05/08/2012 02:05:00 PM
Susie Cable

Marketers focus their efforts on conventionally grown berries, but those who handle organic berries say it is important to their product mix.

Watsonville, Calif.-based California Giant Berry Farms tries to increase its organic berry acreage each year, said Cindy Jewell, marketing director. Growers’ ability to plant more organic berries is limited by the availability of ground that meets requirements for organic growing.

Jewell said California Giant’s annual increases in production are keeping pace with growth in demand.

Much of the growth in California Giant’s organics program is from lengthening the season for organic berries, rather than by adding volume. It’s planting new acreage in other regions to extend the season, Jewell said. It now offers organic berries as late as November.

Organic berries remain a small percentage of California Giant’s offerings, Jewell said. She estimated that about 10% of its volume is organic.

Miami-based Pure Fresh LLC has a new organic blackberry program out of Mexico, said Roberto Castenada Jr., vice president.

It markets berries from Mexico through May. Pure Fresh’s grower partner in Guatemala, Planesa S.A., oversees crops in Mexico and Guatemala, Castaneda said.



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