Homegrown Organic Farms, a grower-shipper-marketer of organic California and Oregon-grown fruit and vegetables since 1998, is importing produce from Mexico and South America.
“To start, we’ll be bringing in avocados from Mexico for the winter and some blueberries out of Chile,” said Scott Mabs, director of marketing.
The imported produce will be packed under a new label, Bella Terra Organics.
The move to import organic fresh produce was more than a year in planning at Porterville, Calif.-based Homegrown Organic Farms, Mabs said.
The company will be able to offer its customers extended and counter season shipping periods of organic produce and new fruit offerings that are available only through importing, he said.
The imported produce will increase annual volume for Homegrown Organic Farms, but Mabs said the extent of the increase is uncertain.
“It’s not our vision to bring gobs of organic product and to oversupply demand,” Mabs said. “It will be more of building demand and then meeting that demand — keeping things in balance.”
Another commodity from Mexico on the Homegrown import calendar is limes, which Mabs said the company plans to import limes from Mexico “in the not-too-distant future.”
Peter France, who oversees the company’s Southern California quality control and field operations, heads up the import program from the field side, Mabs said, while Chad Hansen, sales/commodity manager, will add the imported produce to his domestic sales duties.