Giumarra to offer jumbo blueberries
The 9.8-ounce pack will feature berries that are at least 18 millimeters in diameter.
“The majority of the fruit is going to be 20 millimeters and larger,” he said.
Twenty millimeters is about the diameter of a nickel.
Blueberries typically have a diameter of 12-15 millimeters, he said.
The jumbo blueberries also have superior eating characteristics, firmness and flavor, Richardson said.
They will be sold under Giumarra’s Nature’s Partner label.
The company also will have a substantial Georgia blackberry deal that will start in late May, Richardson said.
“For the month of June, we’ll be able to offer blueberries and blackberries out of Georgia (in) promotable volumes,” he said. “It’s really an exciting time of year for our Southwest season.”
Gourmet Trading offers 2-pounder
Los Angeles-based Gourmet Trading Co. is enjoying success with its 32-ounce clamshell container of blueberries, said saleswoman Jan McDaniels.
The pack is particularly popular among club stores, she said.
The company currently is sourcing blueberries from Georgia.
There will be some reduction in California volume this season because of freeze damage in late February that has eliminated most of the early varieties, she said.
It remains to be seen how extensive the damage was.
The company expects to market California’s mid-season varieties, she said.
As the season progresses, Gourmet Trading Co. also will source from Michigan, New Jersey, Ontario, Oregon and British Columbia.
Naturipe adds fresh fruit cups
Naturipe Farms LLC, Salinas, Calif., introduced a new product — Fresh Fruit Cups — to its Naturipe Snacks line at the Canadian Produce Marketing Association’s trade show in late April, said Brian Jenny, Naturipe’s vice president/general manager of value-added fresh.
“These fruit cups are packed in a unique cup design with a built-in spork and 5 ounces of fresh fruit,” he said.
The snacks are heat-sealed for a secure closure and come in five flavor combinations with a two-week shelf-life.
“This product is ideal for convenience stores, grab-and-go deli, lunch departments and catering operations,” Jenny said.
Oppy building export business
Vancouver, British Columbia-based The Oppenheimer Group is starting to build out its export business with California strawberries followed by blueberries from California, Washington and British Columbia, said Jason Fung, category development director.
This will be the first time the company has exported berries to Asia, he said.
The move comes after Oppenheimer purchased 50% of Delica North America Inc., the legal name of T&G Global’s Torrance, Calif.-based export business T&G North America, last March.
The program, which runs spring through summer, “has the potential to really add value to the grower return,” Fung said.
New cooler for Oregon Berry
Oregon Berry Packing Co., Hillsboro, has built a new cooler and packing facility that will be in use this season, said Trevor Abell, international sales director.
The 55,000-square-foot facility will be able to cool fruit faster than the former one and has a larger packing area and added storage capacity, he said.
Rainier organic program expands
Selah, Wash.-based Rainier Fruit Co.’s organic blueberries program keeps expanding every year, said Andy Tudor, vice president of business development.
“We’ve got new varieties that are coming into certification this year,” he said.
The season will run from early June until late September or early October.
This is about the eighth year for the organic blueberry program.
“It turned out to be a really popular program,” Tudor said.
All the berries are produced by one grower in two locations, so they are farmed and managed the same way, he said.
“It adds consistency to what we do,” he said.