Organics Unlimited Increases Organic Banana Plantings in Mexico

Organics Unlimited Increases Organic Banana Plantings in Mexico

With an eye on expanding its market and buoyed by strong demand, Organics Unlimited has increased its organic banana acreage.

“Organics Unlimited is an organic banana grower in Mexico, and we also pack and import all of our bananas to the United States for distribution there,” said Mayra Velazquez de Leon, who, with her husband, Manuel, owns and operates Organics Unlimited in San Diego. “Distribution is from our warehouse in San Diego, where we sell to both chains who have ripening capabilities and wholesalers who ripen.”

As a company, Organics Unlimited started in 2000. However, the family behind the ownership of the company has been growing organic bananas for four generations.

Its primary focus is on organic Cavendish bananas. Most of its bananas come from Mexico, but the company also imports some bananas from Ecuador as needed.

Healthy organic banana plants being nurtured by Organics Unlimited. The company has increased its organic banana acreage.“We also offer organic plantains, organic red bananas and organic coconuts on a year-round basis,” Velazquez de Leon added. “We do not handle seasonal products at this time. However, we have done so in the past, and we may add other organic items to our program later in the year.”

Organics Unlimited’s direct customers include both distributors and large chain retailers. Velazquez de Leon explained that its customers need ripening capabilities close to the end sale point of the fruit for optimum quality.

The company distributes throughout the United States, Canada and Japan with the largest part of its distribution being in the western U.S.

“We have been very happy to see a continuing increase in demand for our organic bananas,” said Velazquez de Leon. “The uptick in the economy could certainly be a factor in that happening. Our company is experiencing continued increases, and we continue to add acreage to our farms in Mexico to satisfy the needs of our customers.”

Organics Unlimited is a strong believer and supporter of the Organic Trade Association. Velazquez de Leon said, “We feel it helps to keep a focus on the benefits of organics within the fresh produce industry.”

She noted that the company has planted close to 250 additional acres (100 hectares) in Mexico that are currently under organic cultivation.

“We expect the first production from those fields to be ready for market in March,” she said. “Organics Unlimited is always looking to expand our market in the U.S., particularly in the Midwest.

“We see an increased interest in organic produce in all areas, particularly in conventional supermarket chains,” Velazquez de Leon continued. “And with a high-volume product like bananas, which are particularly healthy and convenient for kids, they are the perfect way for retailers to expand their appeal to children who are shopping with their parents.”

Regarding locally grown and its possible effect on the organic category, Velazquez de Leon said that while the trend is positive in terms of sustainability, it is somewhat confusing to consumers.

“Local doesn’t always mean that it comes from right around the corner, and there are some consumers who feel that if it’s local it must also be organic,” she said. “It’s a trend that needs to be explained more closely to consumers. For instance, we can say that Organics Unlimited bananas are the closest to locally grown because they travel less distance to get to the U.S. than any other bananas. Education of consumers is the most important element in both locally grown and organic.”

Source: The Produce News (Christina DiMartino)

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