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Giumarra Cos. offers full range of Chilean fruits and vegetables

“The Giumarra Companies imports berries, avocados, stone fruit, cherries, grapes, kiwifruit, apples, pears, citrus, persimmons and cherimoya from Chile,” said Hillary Brick, senior vice president of marketing for the Los Angeles-based company. “We also import limited volumes of onions and pomegranates from Chile.”

Chilean blueberries ready for harvesting for The Giumarra Cos.

For the North American winter season, Giumarra is shipping Chilean stone fruit and cherries from approximately December through March. Depending on the variety, grapes may start in December and go until the end of May.

“Chilean avocados go from August to April, with the peak season approximately October through February, making them perfect for football and holiday promotions,” said Ms. Brick. “Chilean blueberries ship from November through April. Apples, pears and kiwifruit from Chile ship during the North American spring, summer and fall, depending on the variety.”

She added that citrus is available from July to mid-November, and cherimoya runs from mid-June to the end of September.

The Giumarra Cos.’ packaging styles and sizes vary depending on the fruit being offered and the different programs it sets up with its customers. “For blueberries, we offer a variety of clamshell sizes ranging from six-ounce to two pound,” said Ms. Brick. “The industry standard pack from Chile is a dry pint, while the larger packs are utilized in programs to promote value. Programmed special packs support customers with differentiated store concepts and consumer demographics.”

The company’s avocados are both tray packed and volume filled, and it offers a bagged avocado program with accompanying display racks for retail customers. The display artwork can be customized to highlight a specific promotion.

“Grapes are packaged in both bags and clamshells,” said Ms. Brick. “Citrus is packaged in bulk, bagged and retail-ready units. A five-pound clementine box is one example. Stone fruits are tray packed and volume filled.”

She added that the company is expecting continuing increases in its forecasted program as a result of both existing and new production, and it is excited about its apple growth with new proprietary varieties being developed in Chile. The company is also expecting increases in grapes, stone fruit and avocados.

“We service all customer types: major chain and independent retailers, foodservice operators, and wholesalers,” said Ms. Brick. “The volume of Chilean fruit offered is good for foodservice operators, who may be particularly interested in berries and avocados, as these are growing foodservice items.

“Chilean fruit also benefits retail customers because it reinforces their produce offering during the North American winter,” she continued. “Consumers can take advantage of the abundance and enjoy ‘summer fruit in winter.’”

Giumarra works with highly experienced growers from around the world, including its domestic growers. Ms. Brick said that the company has worked with some of its Chilean growing families for 30 or more years, and it makes a priority of partnering with those who have perfected their craft for flavor, quality and efficiency.

“Our growers are already working in one of the best growing regions in the world, and they use techniques that produce fruit with the best flavor while respecting the environment and minimizing the impact on natural resources,” she said.

The demand for Chilean produce, she added, has increased because retailers and foodservice operators want to offer their customers the best, most flavorful varieties of fruits and vegetables available year round. Chilean product supplements their needs for winter with good volume and quality.

“The media does a great job of educating consumers about the health benefits of berries,” said Ms. Brick. “They are some of the fastest-growing items in the produce department and are also extremely versatile. We expect to see continued growth for the category.

“The various blueberry grower associations have done an excellent job conducting research on the health benefits of blueberries and marketing this information to the public,” she added.