Oppy touts Brazilian Rainforest Alliance grapes in North America
Vancouver-based fruit company Oppy has announced it is importing its first fully Rainforest Alliance certified Brazilian table grape crop this season.
The distributor sources the fruit from Fazendas Labrunier, which produces Red Globe, Festival and Thompson grapes among others in the country's São Francisco Valley.
Oppy grape import director Bill Poulos said the initial Labrunier shipments were impressive with good color and consistent sizing.
"The growing season was quite dry, which reduced the volume of the crop but has enhanced the quality and shelf life," he said.
He noted the Thompson grapes were particularly exceptional.
"The berries have a very good finish, texture and even color. While Brazil is known for its Festivals, Labrunier Thompsons are something special."
Labrunier sales executive Fernando Olic said the Rainforest Alliance underpinned the activities the company undertook in making a positive difference for many in grape-growing areas.
"We are involved in a comprehensive social project called ‘Build a School,’ implemented in conjunction with the Brazilian NGO IQE (Teaching Quality Institute). Labrunier sponsors the training of teachers on the Petrolina region," he said.
"The program benefits more than 10,000 students in the area where Labrunier grapes are grown."
"Twice a year , our farms provide school supplies like notebooks, pens, backpacks and other items for our workers’ children aged six to 16.
Labrunier, which is owned by agricultural company Grupo JD, also donates school supplies such as notebooks, pens and backpacks twice a year to workers' children aged six to 16.
On the staff front, Labrunier is also known for employing disabled workers in jobs suited to their skills.
The grower sets aside 2,000 acres of wildlife reserves on its property and has also introduced disciplines around water use reduction and organic fertilizers to produce grapes more sustainably.
"The vegetation and animals present in our wildlife reserve are typical of Caatinga, a unique and particular biome in Brazil. The word source of 'Caatinga', from Tupy-guarani, means 'white forest'," Olic said.
"Caatinga only has a green period in the short rainy season, between the months of November to April. We identified a wide variety of tree species, shrubs and cacti within which we mainly recognize Umbuzeiros, juazeiros, Ingá, Jurema Preta, Jenipapo, Muquém, angico, barauna, caranaubeira, jatoba, umburana.
"The fauna is also characteristic of this biome, and besides the traditional presence of Common agouti, marsupials, brazilian guinea pigs, gray brockets (brocket deer), yellow armadillos, and common marmosets, we also know of the presence of jaguars and wild cats."
He said the company monitored the fauna to help facilitate the movement of these animals.