(UPDATED COVERAGE, 7:15 p.m.) Earthbound Farm, known for its organic bagged salads and vegetables, has a new fruit division and plans to expand fruit selection through imports.
The San Juan Bautista, Calif.-based organic brand started shipping tommy atkins and kent mangoes in mid-January.
The mangoes are from Peru and Mexico. Other additions to the Earthbound lineup include cherries from Chile and Argentina, avocados from Chile and Mexico, and pears from Argentina.
“We’re also greatly expanding the number of varieties of apples based on our farmers we’re sourcing from in South America,” said Ricardo Sardans, business development director for the company’s global fruit division.
The addition of Sardans, previously president of San Francisco-based Purity Organic Produce, was announced in November.
Earthbound aims to triple its organic fruit sales over last year with the changes.
“Our new fruit division allows us to be in a position to work directly with growers on significant volume while also increasing our sales force to fulfill retailers’ demands for year-round organic fruit,” he said.
Earthbound began selling red mangoes from Peru in December. Those are expected to sell through March. Out of Mexico, yellow ataulfo mangoes will begin to ship in mid-February, and red mangoes from that country follow in March.
Pears begin in mid-February and South American apples in early March.
The cherries shipped starting two weeks ago and are done.
“The idea is to create a continuum of organic fruit year-round,” Sardans said.
Earthbound is staffing field offices in the U.S., Mexico and Argentina. There are also four new loading centers in Long Beach, Calif.; Nogales, Ariz.; Laredo, Texas; and Vineland, N.J. Those were added to existing loading centers in San Juan Bautista and Yuma, Ariz.
Besides new commodities, volume is also being added throughout the line. For example, organic blueberry volume sourced from Chile is up fourfold over last year, Sardans said.
Earthbound also plans to source fruit from Brazil, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti and Europe.
Earthbound has been in the organic fruit business since 1999, but is best known for salads and vegetables. The expanded offerings and the formal launch of a fruit division based in Palo Alto, Calif., signal a big push into that market.
Ethan Abendroth and Eric Thurston, both retail sales managers, are recent additions to the fruit division, as is Liz Bourret, commodity manager.
Commodities include organic apples, apricots, avocados, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, figs, assorted table grapes, kiwifruit, lemons, mangoes, assorted melons, nectarines, oranges, papaya, peaches, pears, pineapple, plums, pomegranate, pomelo, raspberries, strawberries and tangelos.