Gourmet Trading, headquartered in Los Angeles, produces year-round supplies of blueberries and asparagus in addition to handling blackberries. Julia Inestroza, marketing and merchandising manager for the company, said that it imports blueberries from Chile from December through February.
“We offer all the standard-size packs that customers want,” said Ms. Inestroza. “We also offer special labels to increase sales such as our ‘Smurf’ label.”
Gourmet Trading partnered with Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation in May 2011 to bring the iconic Smurf characters to its packages of blueberries in coordination with the release of “The Smurf’s” movie that opened in theaters July 29.
The company was founded in 1982 as an importer and distributor of fresh fruits and vegetables. Since that time, it has operated on the principle that cultivating relationships is as important as cultivating produce.
Today, the company partners with some of the top growers in South America, Central America, Australia, New Zealand and the United States in order to consistently deliver the best produce to its customers. Its strong grower relationships, management of its company-owned farms and continual investment in its business enable it to provide high-quality fruits and vegetables throughout the year.
Ms. Inestroza said that the company’s Chilean blueberries are sold to a good mix of customers across the country, including retailers, foodservice operators and wholesalers.
“We distribute our Chilean blueberries from our distribution points in Los Angeles, Miami and New Jersey,” she said.
Gourmet Trading takes corporate responsibility seriously, believing that every activity in the process of cultivating products and getting them to market affects everyone involved. It engages in initiatives like supporting the people of Ica, Peru, the region where it grows the majority of its asparagus. It has also made a commitment to the education of the children in the region, focusing its efforts on the village of Los Castillos, where many of its laborers reside.
By improving the infrastructure of the school and helping to meet some of the children’s basic needs, the company is helping to create an environment that nurtures learning. It believes that as a company that is in the business of making things grow, investing in the children of its workers is an investment in the future — for the company and for the children.
Ms. Inestroza said that the average consumer wants fruit without concern for the time of year. “Chilean fruit is a key piece of that puzzle, and growers there make sure there are blueberries available year-round for the North American customer,” she said. “We predict that demand will continue to grow substantially. We have not yet tapped all the health benefits of berries, and we have not yet uncovered all of our potential customers. As more time passes, more people will eat blueberries and the category will continue to grow.”
Gourmet Trading takes sustainability and the environment seriously, and it does what it can to operate safely and cleanly. The company uses recyclable plastic cartons instead of non-recyclable wax-coated paper. Its logistics team is tasked with ensuring that its shipments maximize efficiency and minimize fuel consumption.