(Sept. 5, 2:01 p.m.) Organics Unlimited, a San Diego-based organic fruit supplier, is making a three-year break into the conventional banana category, introducing its line of Fruti Fresh brand bananas in late August.

The company plans to sell the line through distributors and hopes to ship nationwide, said Mayra Velazquez de Leon, chief executive officer. She said she did not know what volumes of fruit would ship.

Banana supplies across the nation have been tight most of the year and prices higher, mostly because of heavy rains and flooding in Central American growing regions, leading to Organics Unlimited’s decision to handle some conventional fruit sales despite the company’s foundation in the organic segment.

“This way, if there’s not enough organic product, we can offer a transition product,” she said.

The Fruti Fresh line is from a grower in Mexico, Velazquez de Leon said. Once the transitional waiting period is complete, the line will carry the Organics Unlimited label.

“It’s a good way to help a grower who’s not able to sell his product and help the retailers who need them,” she said.

Conventional fruit is something new for the organic supplier.

The line won’t be marketed as “transitional organic,” Velazquez de Leon said, because U.S. Department of Agriculture rules prohibit any use of the word “organic” unless it’s certified organic.

The USDA mandates a three-year transition period between a conventional crop’s pesticide-treated acreage can be deemed organic.

Organics Unlimited also plans to redesign all of its packaging for all of its lines by October, Velazquez de Leon said.

Markets editor Andy Nelson contributed to this article.

Organic banana supplier adds conventional fruit
San Diego-based Organics Unlimited has launched the Fruti Fresh brand for nonorganic bananas. Conventional fruit is something new for the organic supplier.