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First fresh goldenberries without cold treatment enter the US

“We have resumed importing fresh Colombian goldenberries now that cold treatment is no longer required,” says Melissa Hartmann de Barros with HLB Specialties. Previously, the USDA mandated a 14-day quarantine treatment where the fruit would be kept at 34⁰F to guarantee no invasive species would survive. This treatment dramatically reduced shelf-life and increased costs. HLB Specialties was the first company to receive the fruit from verified ‘fruit fly free’ zones on July 31st. 

Ceremony at Bogota airport as goldenberries depart for the US

Improved shelf-life
“Previously, it was difficult and costly to handle Colombian goldenberries, because the cold-treatment would give us only about one week to sell, distribute, and have the shoppers enjoy the fruit at home,” says Andres Ocampo with HLB Specialties and Colombian himself. “With the new regulation we have two to three weeks shelf-life and can offer a much more competitive price,” according to Ocampo. The berries arrive in the US in fresh condition as the transit time between cropping and arrival at Miami airport sometimes takes only 48 hours. 

Colombia is the largest grower of commercially sold fresh goldenberries, also known as cape gooseberries. They are grown on a vine year-round and resemble small tomatillos with a brown papery husk covering the round, cherry-sized fruit, which protects the berry and is removed at time of consumption. They are ripe when yellow.

Popular fruit variety in Europe
“Fresh goldenberries have been popular in Europe for years and are commonly used as garnish in cocktails, desserts, juices and fruit salads,” mentioned Hartmann de Barros. “The fruit’s flavor is sweet-tart, refreshing and slightly acidic. Hopefully, we can get the American consumer used to the fruit’s unique flavor.” Fresh goldenberries are marketed as a superfruit due to their high concentration of nutrients, such as antioxidants, vitamins A and C, as well as fiber. The berry can be a little sticky due to the natural oil that serves as a protectant. 

HLB Specialties carries the fruit in baskets and clamshells of 3.5oz each that come in boxes of 12 units (baskets) and 9 units (clamshells). They can be flown to any U.S. airport and there is currently no minimum order requirement. In addition, the company handles a variety of tropical fruits, including conventional and organic papayas, mangoes, avocados, limes and rambutan.

Come and visit us at booth #2069 at the PMA Fresh Summit.

Contact information:
Melissa Hartmann de Barros
HLB Specialties
Tel: (+1) 954-475-8808 

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