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Year-round organic apples and pears from three growing regions

For years, consumers have been able to buy apples and pears year-round, and even in the organic category, year-round availability of domestic organic apples and pears has become more common with the help of controlled atmosphere. At Viva Tierra Organic, the year-round philosophy is key, but things are done quite differently. “We have been 100 percent organic from inception in 1984 and have a really unique model,” says Chris Ford, Business Development and Marketing Manager with the company. “We are always on the cusp of new crops as we are following the seasons and focus on flavor,” he added. Right now, harvest of California coastal Fuji and Cripps Pink is wrapping up, and Washington state is in full swing. However, in about four months crops from the southern hemisphere will be ready for harvest. Viva Tierra’s apple and pear programs source from three main growing regions, including California, Washington, and South America. “We always cycle through growing regions and because we represent growers globally and have our own farm in Chile, we are able to deliver high-quality, fresh harvest apples and pears year-round.”

One of Viva Tierra's growers together with Sales Manager Matt and NW field representative Mike. 

Popular varieties
One of the organic apple varieties that has grabbed the spotlight in recent years is Honeycrisp. “It’s definitely a focus item for us, together with Fuji and Cripps Pink.” The latter stands out for its high pink color and a balance of tartness and sweet. Expectations of Cosmic Crisp are high, and while Viva Tierra will only be marketing a small amount this year, volumes are expected to grow substantially in the future. “Production is not controlled, like with some of the other club varieties, so I am expecting production to go up relatively quickly,” commented Ford.

As for pears, the core varieties Bartlett, Bosc, and d’Anjou continue to be popular, but Viva Tierra also offers red pears and some specialty varieties. “One of my favorites is the Concorde,” said Ford. “It has an elongated shape and crisp texture, but the sweetness and abundant juice of a Comice.

Cameo apple variety.

Export opportunities
Although most of Viva Tierra’s apples and pears are distributed in the North American market, when good opportunities for exports present themselves, the company won’t turn them down. “We are not solely dependent on exports, but we take market-based opportunities.” On a regular basis, organic apples are exported to East Asia and currently, the company is exploring opportunities to export to India from Washington state. “From our farm in Chile, we don’t only export to North America, but also to Europe,” added Ford.

Increased (bagged) sales
More so this year than other years, Ford is feeling increasing demand for organic apples and pears across the board. “Families are spending more time at home, and need bigger quantities to feed their families,” he shared. Another trend is the increased demand for bagged items. Not only do bags provide a safety perception, grabbing a bag is just easier than putting loose apples or pears in a bag. “People want to get in and out of a grocery store quickly and therefore, today’s consumer is always looking for grab-and- go options.”

For more information:
Chris Ford
Viva Tierra Organic
Tel: 831-917-7321

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