U.S.: First West Coast Chilean fruit vessel of the season arrives in LA
After a 12-day journey from Chile, the first West Coast breakbulk vessel of the season, Ice River, arrived to the Port of Los Angeles on Jan. 9.
The ship unloaded 4,500 pallets of fresh grapes, cherries, peaches, nectarines, plums and blueberries that will be hitting retail shelves this week.
The entire SSA Marine operations team, including Kevin Nielsen, terminal manager and Lacey Patalano, office administration, were excited to receive the Ice River vessel and look forward to receiving weekly Chilean fresh fruit vessels now through April.
Steve Hattendorf, western region merchandiser for the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA), greeted the first West Coast vessel of the 2019-20 Chilean winter fruit season and toured the 14-acre facility in San Pedro, California.
Winter has definitely arrived, but shoppers can get a taste of summer throughout the winter months, courtesy of Chile, the CFFA said.
Cherries, blueberries, grapes and stone fruit are now in-market, with merchandising support available to retailers through the U.S. and Canada.
Karen Brux, managing director of the CFFA, said: “Demos, digital coupons, kids cooking classes, and social media contests are just some of the programs we’re currently running with retailers big and small.
"We’re also further supporting retail sales through our consumer campaign, which includes extensive social media promotions, as well as our new “Super Fruit Bowl” campaign that’s currently running with ESPN.”
The Chilean season is just starting to ramp up. As of Jan. 6, Chile had exported more than 30,000 metric tons (MT) of blueberries, 17,000MT of grapes and 5,000MT of peaches to the U.S.
Information on specific fruits, as well as recipes and promotional material, can be found at fruitsfromchile.com.