By Karen Brux
Chilean blueberries are an integral part of menus that include fresh blueberries year-round, because Chile’s season runs counter to the U.S. season, November through March.
A Good Supply
Chile is the largest producer of farm-grown highbush blueberries in the Southern Hemisphere and North America is its largest export market. Chile estimates 7% growth in blueberry production for the 2013/14 season, with 93,000 tons exported worldwide. For weekly Chilean blueberry crop updates, go to chileanblueberrycommittee.com.
Chile’s Unique Landscape
The Atacama Desert to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Andes Mountains to the east, and the Patagonia ice fields to the south all protect Chile’s lush valleys and growing areas, minimizing the need for fertilizers. Its unique geography makes Chile what is known as a phytosanitary island, protecting it from many pests and diseases. These natural barriers, combined with Chile’s Mediterranean climate, soil and water, make Chile a natural and reliable provider of high-quality blueberries and other fresh fruits.
Committed to Quality, Safety and Sustainability
Chile is a world leader in safe agricultural and environmental practices. From growing, harvesting and packing practices, to worker safety and environmental stewardship, safety is paramount to Chilean producers, to the point that fruit exports meet or exceed the strictest North American, European and Asian standards.
The Chilean fresh fruit industry has developed a program called Good Practices for Sustainability, a set of vigorous guidelines for protecting air, water and soil resources. State-of-the-art drip irrigation systems and access to real-time climate data minimize water consumption. Use of pesticides is strictly regulated according to international guidelines, and Chile ranks among the top ten countries in the world with the most GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) certificates according to both United Nations and U.S. standards. GAP standards were established to ensure that food meets global standards for safety, nutrition and sustainability.
Chilean Fresh Fruits Stay Fresh In Route
Chilean growers and exporters have developed state-of-the-art systems for transporting their hand-picked blueberries to North American markets. Dedicated highways, expanded and modernized port facilities, and innovative handling procedures speed the process. Aboard ship, temperatures and humidity are carefully monitored and controlled. Proper handling at the receiving end helps maximize the flavor, freshness, color and value.
The Chilean Blueberry Committee supports blueberry menu promotions during its season. Get in touch with one of our foodservice merchandisers (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org) to talk about promotional ideas and culinary support.
Photo by Bertrand Roberts for umiNOM
The year-round supply of fresh blueberries helps Chef King Phojanakong keep his best-selling Warm Thai Chili Chocolate Cake on the menu at umiNOM.
Karen Brux, Chilean Fresh Fruit Association’s Managing Director for North America, has enjoyed 25 years in the fresh produce industry, working on behalf of kiwifruit growers in New Zealand and table grape producers in California. Karen advocates for the central role that fresh produce plays in a healthy, balanced diet for both kids and adults.