With domestic kiwifruit production out of California and imported product from New Zealand, Chile and Italy, Giumarra of Wenatchee, with offices in Wenatchee, WA, is in the kiwifruit business 12 months out of the year, according to Jason Bushong, a salesman with the company.
In its domestic kiwifruit program, “everything is grown and shipped out of Hanford, CA,” he said. “We work with John Fagundes down there at Cal Harvest. It is his [fruit], and we are helping him market it.” The Cal Harvest acreage is similar this year to what it was in 2010.
Over the years, Mr. Fagundes has converted “quite a bit” of his kiwifruit acreage to organic production, Mr. Bushong said. However, the organic acreage this year is about the same as last.
Most of the fruit is packed in the “Cal Harvest” label, he said. However, for Giumarra’s club-store business, the fruit is packed in special club-store packs carrying Giumarra’s “Nature’s Partner” brand, he said.
Most of the kiwifruit marketed by Giumarra of Wenatchee is packed loose in a standard nine-kilo carton, he said. But “we also have a one-pound clamshell and we do a three-pound clamshell and a four-pound clamshell.”
The company is “always investigating new pack styles” with the objective of stimulating kiwifruit sales, Mr. Bushong said. “That depends on feedback from our customers.” This year, however, “there is nothing really new” with regard to packaging, but he did observe some trends.
“The three- and four-pound clams have really gained traction over the years,” he said. Also, “we are looking at more of the one-pound clam” over the coming year.
The company is also engaged in “research on selling kiwifruit by the pound, on the bulk, versus by the piece,” he said.
The California crop will be starting a little later than normal this year, Mr. Bushong said. “We will probably get going with volume ... the third or fourth week of October.” Shipping of California kiwifruit will continue typically into early February. Part of the crop is put into controlled-atmosphere storage for the later shipments, but “not very much,” he said.
With kiwifruit imports also from Italy, marketed primarily in the eastern United States during the California season, and with imports from Chile and New Zealand during California’s off season, “we are a 12-month supplier of kiwifruit, and I think, globally ... one of the largest,” he said.
In addition to marketing kiwifruit year round, Giumarra of Wenatchee also handles apples and pears year round, with production in the Northwest and off shore, “as well as citrus out of New Zealand,” he said.