The berry, more commonly available in Europe, are shipped from Colombia and currently Andes Fruits Colombia is handling numerous restrictions involved in shipping fruit from Colombia to the U.S.
“There’s a systems approach as a protocol where it takes at least nine months to have a farm in Colombia enabled to be able to ship to the U.S.,” says Andes’ Matt Aaron. “Also the berries can only come from two different states of Colombia—Boyaca and Cundinamarca--which really restricts the supply. In Europe for example, any part of the country can send berries to Europe.”
The restrictions are in part due to keeping out Mediterranean fruit flies. “There are rumours that they’ll open up the whole country once they have a bit more confidence, but for now these are why the restrictions are in place,” says Aaron.
Strike holding things up in the short-term
Add to that the challenge of shipping anything by air right now out of Colombia, a country where many of the pilots of Avianca are currently on strike and have been since approximately mid-September.
“So all of this really limits supply—demand for these berries is growing but it’s been tough because we haven’t been able to fulfill our orders,” says Aaron, noting that the company has been shipping golden berries since July 2015. “We have a lot of clients on the waiting list.”
Notably, the berries are sold in Europe largely with the husk on them. “But in the U.S. it’s usually without the husk and peeled it has a lot lower shelf life,” says Aaron. (In Europe, the berries are often shipped by boat whereas U.S. shipping is done largely by air.)
For what is available, pricing has remained steady on the year-round fruit, though Aaron anticipates that the pricing may go up slightly during the holiday season.
Looking ahead though Aaron, remains optimistic. “I’m hoping eventually they’ll be able to open up all of Colombia and possibly shorten the protocols on the farm,” he says. “ProColombia has done an excellent job in helping to brand and market the Colombian goldenberry. So produce buyers know what it is now. And then possibly 2018 will be big for the goldenberry.”
For more information:
Andes Fruits Colombia