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I Love Produce continues to promote organic ginger from Peru

by Christina DiMartino | January 10, 2011
I Love Produce in Kelton, PA, continues to promote organic Peruvian ginger, according to Jim Provost, chief executive officer for the firm. "It's flavorful, fresh, beautiful and healthful, and the price point is amazing," he said. “This heirloom ginger is grown by the indigenous population in the Andes Mountains. The income from the organic certifications has provided a better lifestyle for these people. This ginger is available to ship nationally, and we offer it year round.”

Peruvian ginger runs through March, and then supplies transition to Hawaii until Peru resumes movement again in July or August. The company also handles Chinese ginger in both conventional and organic options. “But Peruvian ginger is a nicer quality for retail,” Mr. Provost said. “Chinese ginger is less fibrous and larger, so it works better for foodservice applications. Peruvian is smaller and has a shiny looking skin, which is preferred by retailers.”

He added that the demand for ginger is at an all-time high, spurred by the health attributes and by home cooks who want to enhance their recipes.

Chinese New Year falls on Feb. 3 this year. Mr. Provost said it is a good time to promote both garlic and ginger.

“Conventional retailers tend to maintain their average sales during this time, but it’s a very big deal for Asian retailers who enjoy a considerable spike,” he said. “The majority of Chinese cuisine includes garlic and ginger.”

I Love Produce is now wrapping up its organic garlic movement from California. The new crop from Argentina will start in mid-February and will last until Mexico movement begins in April or May. The company offers organic garlic from China year round. It also handles organic garlic from Pennsylvania and Mexico.

“Chinese garlic is still less expensive than from other places, but the margin is narrowing,” said Mr. Provost. “Today it’s only 10 percent to 20 percent less.”

Overall garlic supplies continue to be tight, keeping prices high. Mr. Provost explained that new season crops begins in July, and he anticipates there will be more available in the next crop.

“The recent shortage caused a typical supply-and-demand situation,” he said. “Two years ago farmers cut back because prices had been so cheap for so long. This past year the shortage was exasperated because of poor weather conditions. The result was two consecutive years with short supplies.”

For farmers, this is good news because they earn a higher return.

“More money going back to farmers helps to keep the market more orderly,” he added.

I Love Produce offers organic garlic in loose 30-pound packs, five-bulb sleeves and eight-ounce peeled. It also offers a five-pound pack of peeled cloves for foodservice operators.

Its line includes an extensive assortment of jarred garlic. Chopped, crushed and roasted garlic and ginger puree are available in four-and-a-half-ounce, eight-ounce and 29-ounce glass jars.

I Love Produce announced that Eric Frassé joined the company in late 2010. Mr. Provost said that the 28-year-old Mr. Frassé is getting his start in the produce business with the company.