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Naturipe Farms ramps up imported berry program

by Brian Gaylord | September 22, 2010
Naples, FL-based Naturipe Farms LLC will have limited supplies of blueberries from Argentina in September, with volumes expected to surge around early November. Brian Bocock, vice president of sales for Naturipe, told The Produce News Aug. 30 that blueberry prices likely will be high through October. Peak blueberry volume from Argentina should be from mid-November through Thanksgiving, he said. "Argentina winds down hard in December and gets into January," Mr. Bocock said. "It's done by mid-January." There should be ample blueberry volumes for retailers to put on ad for Thanksgiving, he said. Naturipe's blueberry harvest in Uruguay will be delayed, but production should help fill a short gap in supplies around the last week of September, Mr. Bocock said. The firm should start receiving blueberries from Chile the first week of October as a result of an early harvest in northern Chile. January and February should be peak months for blueberry volumes in North America with the best pricing, Mr. Bocock said. Naturipe will have increased blueberry volumes from both Argentina and Chile this year, Mr. Bocock said. Naturipe's raspberry harvest in Mexico should start around the end of September with small volumes. That harvest is expected to peak in October and November and wind down in December. A second flowering of raspberries in Mexico will harvest from March to around early May. Mr. Bocock said that Naturipe's raspberry program in Mexico is small but that there "could be promos for Thanksgiving." The company has "proprietary raspberries in Mexico that are better than from Chile in the past." Naturipe's Tupi variety blackberry harvest in Mexico should peak over the Thanksgiving holiday, Mr. Bocock said. There should be an "excellent opportunity for Christmas and New Year's promotions" with Mexican blackberries, Mr. Bocock said. The production in Mexico typically will run until late spring, when production switches to the southeastern United States. Naturipe also has a lengthy blackberry program in Guatemala that typically starts around late July, with blackberries available year round with the exception of mid-summer. "Naturipe will have a strong September in [domestically grown] strawberries," Mr. Bocock said. "Blueberries, blackberries and raspberries will be short [in September]. That opens up a window for strawberries."