Haskap berry coming on for Oppy

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Haskap berry coming on for Oppy

The blue elongated Haskap berry is expanding in the berry repertoire of Oppy. Going into Oppy’s third season, the Haskap isn’t traditionally known outside of Canada’s West Coast farmers markets.

Dean Barbis, Oppy’s category director of berries tells FreshFruitPortal Haskap was only available to customers in the greater Vancouver area in 2020 “but has created quite the buzz across North America as national retailers, regional chains and independents hoped to get a taste. We’re excited to be expanding this crop with our customer base.”

Meanwhile, raspberry and blackberry sales have “absolutely” increased in both dollar sales and volume since pre-pandemic levels and are growing steadily for Oppy.

Barbis says, “Both berries are currently coming in from Mexico, but we’ll be transitioning to the San Joaquin Valley in the next few weeks. As we shift to California crop, we may see a decrease in strawberries and raspberries due to the tragic Pajaro flood.” The flood occurred on March 10.

Oppy offers strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, along with citrus and grapes in its Ocean Spray branded line, which is an exclusive partnership with Oppy.

Barbis indicates this “continues to grow every year and offers consumers a clear differentiator in a category typically hindered by label pollution. We have been able to build the Ocean Spray fresh brand very quickly due in part to consumer awareness and trust that crosses from center store into produce. Thanks to the strength of the Ocean Spray brand, which enjoys 96% brand awareness according to independent research, we are able to stand out on the shelves — it’s ultimately a winning combination because the retailers reap the benefits and so do consumers.”

Also in the berry business, Oppy offers Happy Berry hydroponic strawberries under the Ocean Spray brand. Grown under hoops and on table tops, berries are protected from the elements while using fewer chemical inputs and no ground fumigations for premium quality and always-sweet flavor. 

In blueberries, this year Oppy added production from a new location: North Carolina. Seasonally, the firm also sources blueberries from Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Canada, and elsewhere in the U.S.

North Carolina bridges the gap between Mexico and the Pacific Northwest and expands its scope to provide an alternative to California blueberries for its Eastern U.S. customers. With a particularly long season window, it has the potential to be the most extensive deal on the east coast, Barbis says.

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