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Growth a possibility for organic greens in the US

With consumers continuing to be interested in organic produce, more growth in available products awaits on the foodservice side of the business.

“The growth isn’t as mature on the foodservice side as it is on the organic retail side,” says Paul Mocettini of Salinas, Ca.-based Muzzi Family Farms, who supplies both conventional product as well as organic greens including baby spinach, spring mix, wild arugula and baby green kale. “It’s been a little harder to get people to convert over to organic on the foodservice side—the explanation I’ve received is that for a restaurant to call a salad organic, all the ingredients need to be organic.”

More products added
That said, Muzzi has increased its organic options, with its most recent additions being the wild arugula and the organic baby green kale. As a processor, Muzzi’s processing plant in the winter is based in Yuma, Ariz. with growers in the Yuma region and California’s Imperial Valley. Then in April, processing moves back up to its plant in Moss Landing, Calif. with growers hailing from California’s King City South to the Watsonville and Hollister areas.

With harvesting happening often at night between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., Muzzi notes that organic baby spinach can be the most challenging. “There are always challenges with mildew and that creates a lot of times where you have lost fields so it makes the supply a little more unstable,” Mocettini says. “And it’s difficult to forecast when that’s going to happen. It’s just part of being in the organic business.”

Starts at retail
Looking ahead though, Muzzi sees that increasing interest in organics possibly building even more. “We see more interest throughout the country, that push towards organic,” he says. “It starts at the retail level and then there’s been a little more pressure or interest in the foodservice side.”

For more information:
Paul Mocettini
Muzzi Family Farms
Tel: +1-(831) 757-7136

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