Jac Vandenberg adds Chilean blueberry grower
Michael Schiro, berry and clementine category manager for Jac Vandenberg Inc., Yonkers, N.Y., said the company expects volumes in its Chilean blueberry deal to rise up to 25% this season, thanks to a combination of increased production from existing growers and the addition of a new one.
The new grower is David Del Curto, though “new” can be a misleading word in this context. Vandenberg has been sourcing Chilean grapes, stone fruit, apples and pears from Del Curto for more than half a century, Schiro said.
“It took us 54 years to get blueberries from them,” he joked.
With Del Curto, Schiro said there won’t be any concerns about getting high-quality product on time.
“We expect the quality to be top-notch, just like it is in the other programs we have with them.”
In addition to the new Del Curto blueberry deal, Vandenberg expects more blueberries this season from Vital Berry Marketing SA, now in its 18th year of shipping blueberries to Vandenberg.
“After years of steady volumes, it looks like our numbers are going to go up with them this year,” Schiro said.
Vandenberg also expects larger volumes from growers Santa Cruz and Zur Group, with the latter boosting Vandenberg’s supplies of organic Chilean blueberries this season, Schiro said.
Vandenberg expects to sell organic Chilean blueberries in both six-ounce containers and pints this season.
The addition of sources and the expansion of others, Schiro said, is mirrored by Vandenberg’s plan for marketing the 2012-13 crop of Chilean blueberries.
“We’re looking to do more with our current base of customers, and we hope to open some new doors as well,” he said.
Nathel International bullish on Chilean season
Heading into the 2012-13 winter season, a reorganized Nathel International, Pittsgrove, N.J., is confident it can leverage its connection to its wholesaler “big brother,” New York-based Nathel & Nathel Inc., into strong sales of staples like grapes and apples, but also newer products for the company, including avocados, said Paul Newstead, director and vice president of sales and marketing.
“We have a great advantage because of our wholesaler operation,” Newstead said. “It’s a low risk entry for us to bring it in and try it out.”
Newstead and Dirk Winkelmann, Nathel International’s director of global procurement, both joined as part of the company reorganization earlier this year.