Sun Belle Inc. said it looks forward to expanding its relationships with a number of berry growers as a result of ending its relationship with the Giddings Group. In 2002, Janice Honigberg, president of Sun Belle Inc., teamed up with Julio Giddings to form Sun Belle Mexico S.A. de C.V. and Sun Belle Berries S.A. in Chile to bring Chilean and Mexican berries to worldwide markets during the winter months.
The company said its North American berry business has grown substantially during this time. Sun Belle now has four North American distribution facilities.
“Giddings’ decision to pursue its dream of shipping its own label presents Sun Belle with a wonderful opportunity to bring more innovative programs and finer product direct to market from the grower,” said Honigberg. “Though Giddings has been an important source of berries during the import season, we have increasingly worked directly with superb growers during this part of the year, and will continue to bring the highest quality berries to market.” Honigberg noted, “Sun Belle also works directly with top quality growers and packers throughout the domestic season, ensuring that we are able to meet customer demand 52 weeks of the year with the best berries under the sun.”
With more than 30 years’ experience, Sun Belle said it is confident it will exceed both customers’ and growers’ expectations in the years ahead.
Sun Belle opened in 1986 importing fresh raspberries from Chile and the same year began distributing blackberries grown in the Virginia Tidewater. It also supplied greenhouse grown vegetables, importing produce from Israel, the Netherlands and Belgium. In 1992 Sun Belle introduced the first greenhouse grown tomato on the vine to the American market.
In subsequent years, the company worked on different varieties of blackberries and raspberries. For example, in 2007, Honigberg identified the Erika raspberry grown in the Italian Alps and brought it to the Americas. Sun Belle also said it has agreements with several university and independent breeding programs on new varieties of raspberries, blackberries and blueberries.