As Awe Sum Organics ramps up their imports of Chilean blueberries with the first arrivals from their main Organic Blueberry Farm located in Southern Chile, which are due to arrive on both the East and West Coast over the Christmas Holiday period, David Posner, Awe Sum’s CEO takes a look at what is coming in 2020 and how the organic sector has changed in recent years.
“The erratic and changing climate in agricultural production areas worldwide is creating increasing challenges for both organic and conventional growers. However, whereas conventional growers may use chemical compounds to help against disease and pests and to prolong shelf life, these are not an option for organic growers. There are now many companies who market some organic produce in addition to their conventional produce, but we at Awe Sum Organics have produced and marketed organic fruit only, since 1985.”
“In recent years as the demand for organic fruit has increased, so have consumer’s expectations. Consumers select fruit with their eyes but will come back for the flavor”, David said. The specifications receivers use now for organic produce are higher than they were in years past.”
“It has become increasingly clear to me that the health of the soil is of utmost importance. I believe that organic fruit needs a healthy, live soil and environment in which to grow. The organic fertilization programs that we use now are much more complex than the programs we used in the past. We now focus on the microbiology of our soils and we work to create and maintain the correct balance of all nutrients and minerals in live soils and in a form that is fully available to our trees, vines and bushes to access, uptake and utilize.”
Chilean organic blueberries
David just returned from visiting Awe Sum Organic’s main Organic Blueberry Farm located in Southern Chile. “The crop looks truly amazing with an awe sum harvest of large sized, deliciously flavored, firm berries that have matured during perfect weather. Arrivals of this fruit are due to begin arriving on both the East and West Coast over the Christmas Holiday period and to continue arriving through the end of January. We will have good volumes of both 6oz and Pint clamshells on both coasts during this period,” David reported.
Peruvian organic table grapes
David recently visited Awe Sum Organic’s vineyards in the Piura, Peru area to see how this season’s organic grape harvest is progressing.
“It is looking really good, in fact probably our best harvest ever from this region,” he explains. “Our organic Red and Green Seedless varieties and our Red Globe variety all have good berry size and bunch formation and we have been successful in combating pests throughout our 150 hectare production area. We have our QC Manager on the ground in the field and pack house for the entire harvest and packing period to ensure the harvest, grading and packing goes smoothly. Our grapes are packed right on the farm in our state of the art packing facility,” David said.
David has developed and patented a method of bringing the vines out of dormancy and into bud-break, which is 100% organic and is an organic replacement for the chemical formula known as Dormex. This means they can bring each block out of dormancy as they choose in order to plan the
harvest times, but it has not been an easy journey. It is a big commitment, which involved 7 years of field trials before we planted our first vines for marketable organic production.
What they cannot control is the climate and this season, due to cooler than average temperatures, the harvest will begin slightly later than initially planned.
Awe Sum Organics also has production of organic table grapes in Southern Peru, in the Ica region, which utilizes their patented a method of bringing the vines out of dormancy and into bud-break. “It is not easy to grow table grapes organically in the Ica area either, but we have been successful and now have 50 hectares in production with more come,” David said.
“Our first organic grapes from Peru will arrive in the US in the first week of January from Sol Sol, our farm in Piura area, with arrivals continuing through February to be followed by our first arrivals from our Ica area farm in February, which will continue through March”.
In addition, this season the company has substantially increased their volumes from Sonora, Mexico, which will extend their import season and continue to fill the existing gap until the San Joaquin Valley of California kicks in.
Italian organic kiwifruit
During the fall of 2019 Awe Sum Organics received their first organic red kiwifruit from Italy. David is very excited with this item, “We only had small volumes this season, which sold out quickly. Next season our volumes will increase substantially. The fruit is very sweet and tasty with a wonderful tropical fruity flavor.”
“Italy has had a tough growing season with a spell of extremely hot weather at the end of summer that stressed the vines and has resulted in smaller sizes and lower volumes overall in our gold varieties as well as in our green (Hayward) variety.”
“Our Italian kiwi grower is very good and is dedicated to achieving the highest levels of dry matter possible, which results in great tasting fruit that ripens perfectly. We have only enough volume of our Italian gold kiwifruit this season to fill our existing customer programs, but our supply of green kiwi will continue until our New Zealand fruit from Zespri begins to arrive in late May.”
Argentinian organic pears
David is also looking forward to Awe Sum Organics’ pears from their grower in the Rio Negro Valley of Argentina. Their first organic Bartletts are due to start arriving in late February and the company will run through their series of varieties until the California pear season starts at the end of July.