Organic grower-shippers of fruits and vegetables continue to develop new products, both for marketing appeal and for yield at the grower level.
With the addition of about 200 acres of organic growing farmland in the past year, Deardorff Family Farms, Oxnard, Calif., is increasing organic production and adding organic commodities to its lineup.
“Last year we introduced over 20 new items for our winter vegetable program, and this summer we will be introducing 10 more items for our summer program,” said Tom Deardorff II, president.
Among those items are tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, green beans and hot and bell peppers.
Wenatchee, Wash.-based Stemilt Growers is marketing a new apricot variety, bella cerise. Newer varieties of cherries, including skeena, Staccato and sweetheart, also allow the company to harvest later into the year and increase organic cherry production.
The Delta, British Columbia market sees some new products from Origin Organic Farms each year that don’t always make it to other markets. Carol Glancy, director of sales, said the company’s heirloom tomatoes, strawberries on-the-vine and Gemini tomatoes are newer items for the company, but don’t often ship outside the local market.
“Every year we test new products and varieties and look forward to being able to offer them to more customers,” Glancy said.
In May, Earthbound Farm, San Juan Bautista, Calif., plans to release a new version of the washed and trimmed cilantro it released last fall. The product is a 2-ounce version instead of the original 3 ounces, and features a resealable zipper, said Samantha Cabaluna, communications director.
“It’s a great product for people that use a lot of cilantro,” Cabaluna said.
“It’s pre-trimmed and pre-washed, and the package maintains freshness longer than you usually see with a cilantro bunch.”
The company is also managing its fairly new 4-pack of petite heirloom lettuces, building production and distribution of the product throughout the year. The four-pack features four lettuce varieties — two red and two green — that provide a flavor similar to spring mix, but with the crunch and texture of bigger leaves, Cabaluna said.
Earthbound Farm and Los Angeles-based World Variety Produce should have other new products on the market soon, according to Cabaluna and World Variety Produce’s Robert Schueller, director of public relations.
In the apple category, newer varieties such as Honeycrisp and Pink Lady are gaining in production and popularity, said Addie Pobst, import coordinator for CF Fresh, Sedro-Woolley, Wash.
Brianna Shales, communications manager for Stemilt Growers Inc., said a better mix of organic apples in the marketplace has helped the company maintain double-digit growth in its organic business. Shales also attributes the growth to the transition to 100% organic production on the company’s peaches and nectarines.
San Diego-based Organics Unlimited has organic gold pineapples in the certification process that it expects to debut by June, said Mayra Velazquez de Leon, president and co-founder. The company supplies organic and Fair Trade bananas and other tropical fruits.