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US: Weather biggest threat to organic bananas

With organic bananas, and organic fruit in general, enjoying growing popularity in the United States, the biggest threat growers face today is a diminished crop due to inclement weather. But barring extreme conditions, noted Mayra Velazquez de Leon, owner of Organics Unlimited, the future looks bright for organic bananas.

Organics Unlimited, based in San Diego, California, is in its 13th year of supplying organic and fair trade bananas to the North American and Japanese markets. 98 percent of their business is the wholesale distribution of organic bananas they source from Mexico and Ecuador, but they also deal with a small amount of coconuts and plantains. They sell their bananas under three labels: an organic label, a socially responsible label and a fair trade label, with most of the sales attributed to the socially responsible label called GROW (Growing Resources and Opportunities to Workers).

Going forward, Velazquez de Leon hopes to expand the territories from which they source their fruit to more countries, with Peru being a good option in the near future.

“It's still in the works,” she said. “But we're always looking for new places to source bananas that make sense.” Part of the reason might be to diversify sources of fruit, as bananas are always subject to cold weather.

“The next few months will be a little hard for bananas because of wind and cold weather,” said de Leon. “The cold and wind make for fewer supplies, so production has slowed down at this time of year.” But barring extreme conditions, supplies should pick up again in June, as in normal years, and Organics Unlimited will be able to enjoy the rising tide of organic consumption.

“Organics are really growing,” said de Leon. “It's really getting a big chunk of the market.”

For more information:
Mayra Velazquez de Leon
Organics Unlimited
+1 619 7100658

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