Year-round berry marketer Alpine Fresh expects bigger volume of organic and conventional blueberries this year, according to Stacy Spivey, director of berry procurement in North America for Alpine Fresh Inc., Doral, Fla.
In 2017, Alpine Fresh took an ownership stake in Island Groves LLC, Hawthorne, Fla., Spivey said. That partnership continues in 2018, and Island Grove brings big volume of organic blueberries to Alpine Fresh, he said.
Alpine expects to increase its conventional output in Florida by 40% in 2018, with organic volume expected to grow at a slower pace. About 60% of Alpine Fresh volume in Florida is conventional and 40% of volume is organic.
Spivey said in Georgia, Alpine Fresh will see a 30% increase in conventional berry volume and as much as 50% growth for organic blueberries. The company’s Georgia volume is split about 60% conventional to 40% organic, he said.
This is the third year of a partnership Alpine Fresh has with North Carolina blueberry grower American Blueberries, Spivey said. Alpine Fresh markets only conventional blueberries from North Carolina, and volume is expected to be up about 25%, he said.
Spivey said there has been overwhelming retail support for the firm’s Hippie Organics brand.
Alpine Fresh will offer 6-ounce and 18-ounce clamshells for organic, and will offer 4.4-ounce, 6-ounce, 18-ounce and 32-ounce for conventional fruit.
More customers have requested the 18-ounce clamshell in recent years, he said.