New organic program

Winter raspberry program starts in central Mexico

Year-round production is definitely increasing consumption; something Sun Belle’s CEO, Janice Honigberg has definitely noticed, with 365-day availability facilitating the increase. 

Reflecting back on 2017, Honigberg says she’s seen more effects from global weather changes having an increasing impact on agriculture; at times seeing production begin in an unusually concentrated manner, "and at other times we see delays."

The winter raspberry program out of central Mexico is underway. It started in mid-September and will run until early to mid-June. Sun Belle receives about 70 percent of its raspberries from growing areas in the state of Jalisco, and about 30 percent from growing areas in the state of Michoacán. “The weather has been good. Daytime temperatures have been favorable despite cold early mornings,” says Honigberg. Raspberries are grown under tunnels, protecting them from adverse weather. Sun Belle’s raspberries from Mexico are comprised of two Italian varieties: Erika and Evita. Honigberg says more Evita are in production from central Mexico. 

Peak around Valentine's Day
The country is blessed with a long growing season and fields can be timed differently. Honigberg said they had some peak production in early October and there will be another peak again in late January through late April. The company’s other source area, Baja California, will start winter production around December 10 and run through mid March. “Its peak should be late January and early February which is really nice for Valentine’s Day.” Winter raspberry production is often more expensive than the summer and fall. “Early autumn raspberries from Mexico can be less expensive; California is also running at that time,” she says. “I believe consumption is continuing to grow in all of the berries in a very energetic way.” 

Organic raspberries are new
Organic raspberries are new for the company, which focuses currently on organic blueberries, blackberries and cranberries. These are marketed under the Green Belle label. Into the New Year, Honigberg says they’ll be working together with their partner in Mexico on a selection of raspberries from Europe. “We have high expectations of fantastic taste and performance. We’ll be planting those and evaluating them.” 

For more information:
Janice Honigberg 
Sun Belle Inc. 
Ph: 708-343-4545

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