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Costa Rican gold variety having very good volume

Organic pineapple category booming

Veg Fresh has been operating its gold variety pineapple program for about three years in both conventional and organic, and imports crownless pineapples for retail and foodservice customers for processing. “We do a fair amount of both, but the Organic category is booming. 

Up until now, there has been very good volume out of Costa Rica, but in the next 2-3 months the volume typically tends to drop as the natural floration period ends. Veg Fresh’s pineapples are grown in the district of Chemoria, and in the County of Upala. The Pineapple category, Parisotto says, is one of the faster growing categories for the company. 

Veg Fresh is a good size player in the west coast pineapple market when it comes to organic and conventional suppliers. “I’d say worldwide organic pineapple demand is still increasing faster than supply.” Their partner grower started producing organic pineapples in 2006, but has also been growing conventional pineapples for 18 years. Conventional pineapples are all packed under the Veg Fresh label and all organics are packed under the Good Life Organic label. 

More land to grow organically seems to be an ongoing need. “We’re looking to increase our organic acreage down there. There are limited organic pineapple suppliers,” he said, noting that there are lots of conventional pineapple acreage but very few good organic pineapple growers. “It’s not really easy to grow organic and the yields are typically less than conventional pineapples. Also, there are increased costs and labor involved in growing organics versus conventional, so it’s not for everyone.” 

Although there’s a lot of volume still coming out of Mexico, Parisotto says Costa Rica is still considered to be one of the most ideal places in the world to grow pineapple, and working with a good grower is the key. “Our growers do a very good job at making sure there’s a minimum brix (sugars) level and the fruit is thoroughly inspected properly before they’re shipped, and they also take very good care of the fields. As far as growing conditions, Costa Rica is known to be one of the best growing regions for pineapple.” 

For more information: 

Barry Parisotto 
Veg Fresh Farms 
Ph: 714-446-8800 

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