Janice Honigberg, president of Sun Belle, Schiller Park, Ill. displays cranberries and pomegranate arils at the Produce Marketing Association's Fresh Summit expo. ( The Packer )

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Schiller Park, Ill.-based Sun Belle is promoting organic and biodynamic cranberries and blueberries this fall, along with a wide variety of other berry offerings.

At the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit, the company highlighted blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, golden berries, cranberries and pomegranate arils, said Janice Honigberg, president of Sun Belle.

Sun Belle is offering Green Belle label organic and biodynamic blueberries and cranberries, she said. Biodynamic agriculture is a holistic system of growing, taking into account treatment of the soil and the land, she said. 

Organic and biodynamic Green Belle label blueberries have already started from Chile and will continue until February, and the company will also pull supplies from another grower further south in Chile to extend the season even further.

Shipments are arriving by air now but will be shipped by ocean vessel when volumes increase, Honigberg said.

“There are so many people that are getting interested in sustainable agriculture and this is the next step,” she said.

Sun Belle also offers organic and biodynamic Green Belle label cranberries from northern Wisconsin.

Some retailers like to feature organic cranberries instead of conventional cranberries, she said. Availability will extend until close to Christmas, she said.

Berry options

Honigberg said Sun Belle’s line includes organic options in blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries in consumer pack sizes of 6-ounce and 18-ounce options. Sun Belle is also offering jumbo-sized  blueberries from Peru in 9.8-ounce clamshells.

South American golden berries, first introduced about five years ago, are finding growing demand in the U.S. and Canada with 6-ounce and 12-ounce consumer packs offered, she said.

Sun Belle is marketing air-shipped organic Peruvian pomegranate arils to the U.S. market from February through August.

“We’ll be using a pulse light sanitation system instead of a water-based bath, which should really keep (the arils) dry and fresh,” she said.

The arils will have a shelf life of about 23 days, with direct flights expected into Chicago, Miami and Maryland, she said.

“We really try to shorten the transport life keep the fruit real fresh,” Honigberg said.

Staff additions

Sun Belle has added industry veteran Paul Stumpfig to its sales team in its Jessup, Md., office. Honigberg said Stumpfig brings 28 years of experience in national sales. The company also has added to its logistics staff in Chicago and added two employees in Mexico, she said. Sun Belle has brought on Victoria Hernandez in Mexico to coordinate shipments and programs and Myra Ramirez as a food safety certification and quality control official.