California Giant Berry Farms’ Nick Chappell and Naturipe’s Fernando Aguiar Gives Lowdown on Blackberry Market

From And Now u Know | 19 September 2023

Overview of blackberries from California and Mexico in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on September 15, 2023. 

UNITED STATES – The tart yet sweet flavor of blackberries always draws me in while perusing the produce aisle, and this California heat only makes me seek out punnets even more. As we hit the midway point of September, I checked in with a couple of growers to get the read on this popular berry.

“We are seeing about the same strong supply of blackberries as this time last year, and prices have been strong and steady this summer,” Nick Chappell, Director of Sales at California Giant Berry Farms, confirms with me. “We are seeing good demand right now for blackberries, with our crop in Mexico ramping up and increased volumes projected week over week through October. Our Watsonville, California, crop is currently at its peak, and overall supply will remain steady for the next 4–5 weeks.”

blackberry volumes by or

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

When asked about the weather, Nick mentions how extreme, warm weather and high humidity can contribute to blackberries becoming too soft and over-ripe, which lends to leaking fruit and increased pest pressure. However, he assures me that is not the case for California Giant’s Mexican or Californian crops.

As things are looking good for California Giant, I turn my attention to Naturipe’s Fernando Aguiar, Director of Business Development, to see how the company is faring.

“We are currently harvesting in California and just started in Mexico. The volumes have been steady, and we’re expecting them to increase in Mexico throughout the fall and winter,” begins Fernando. “Volumes will be especially strong for 6 oz and 12 oz blackberries. Blackberry demand has been growing due to the new genetics being brought to the category that have much better flavor. This has resulted in strong markets and good pricing.”

Naturipe will be keeping up with growing demand as it adds new production, starting around the holidays and the New Year. The company is anticipating a strong year of growth for the 2023–2024 import season as it also welcomes a new variety.

“We are especially excited about this new production because it is going to be entirely our newest variety, ‘Fenominal.’ The Fenominal variety is part of our ongoing efforts at Naturipe to meet customer demands and bring consumers the best berries possible—we know that everyone is going to love this variety!” continues Fernando. “Additionally, because of our increased volumes throughout the late summer and early fall seasons, we are expecting to see even more promotable volumes and additional ads on blackberries—now is definitely the time to buy!”

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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