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Marcelo Rusca with Go Fresh

“We rely on Chile, New Zealand, Italy, and Greece for a year-round supply of kiwi fruit”

The southern hemisphere kiwi season is in full swing with New Zealand and Chile being the main suppliers, followed by Argentina, a relatively new player who is starting in small volumes. "For our customers here in Canada, we mainly rely on Chile," says Marcelo Rusca with Go Fresh, a division of Gambles Group of Companies. "When it comes to the green Hayward variety, we have good partnerships with growers in Chile and have access to significant volume." The first shipments from Chile arrived in Canada in April after a transit time of three weeks. The season is expected to end around mid-September.

Overall, the Chilean kiwi crop is very healthy. There was some rain early in the season, but it didn't affect the quality. With a production increase of seven percent over last year, supply is steady, and sizing is trending towards larger fruit.

Italy, kiwi fruit on a branch.

Yellow variety
In addition to the green Hayward variety, yellow varieties entered the market a few years ago and have rapidly been gaining market share. "We bring in the yellow Soreli variety from Chile, but it has a very short window of opportunity," admitted Rusca. "Once New Zealand starts, it is very challenging for Soreli to compete." While Go Fresh buys most of its produce directly from the source, SunGold kiwis from New Zealand are more regulated. "Zespri has marketing agreements with selected distributors in Canada, one of which is Oppy, who belongs to the same global group of companies as Go Fresh."

Kiwi orchard in Italy.

Greece becoming more relevant
While the Chilean season will continue for a few more months, Go Fresh is already monitoring harvest schedules in Italy and Greece. The start of the Italian season is 13 weeks away and the expectation is for Italy's production volume to be lower than the historical average, but higher than last year's volume. In general, production volume in Italy is decreasing while kiwi production increasingly shifts to Greece. "Greece is becoming a relevant player, because of similar or better conditions," said Rusca. With new orchards coming into production, kiwi volumes from Greece will be higher this season. "While volume will be up, we are closely monitoring growing conditions due to very warm temperatures in Greece this summer." The production window for the two European countries is roughly from the end of October through March, early April. Go Fresh mainly imports green kiwi varieties from Italy and Greece as both countries prefer to save their yellow varieties for the European market; "we will have access to yellow varieties as well this season", says Rusca.

Sourcing from Chile, New Zealand, Italy, and Greece allows Go Fresh to maintain year-round supplies of kiwi for North American customers.

Kiwi trays that are recyclable and home compostable.

With a continued awareness relating to sustainability, Go Fresh green and yellow kiwi trays are recyclable & home compostable. "We pack a 600-gram tray that is well-suited for smaller fruit, giving it a nice presentation," Rusca said. "The package is both aesthetically pleasing and showcases the fruit tastefully to the consumer". As Go Fresh rolls out new products, the company continues to emphasize the importance of sustainable packaging practices.

For more information:
Marcelo Rusca
Go Fresh Produce
Tel: (+1) 437 286-4579
[email protected]