Sun Belle expands berry grower relationships

Sun Belle expands berry grower relationships

Sun Belle Inc., Shiller Park, Ill., is expanding relationships with growers following a decision by the Giddings Group, which supplies berries from Mexico and Chile, to market its own berries.

Sun Belle president Janice Honigberg and Julio Giddings in 2002 formed Sun Belle Mexico S.A. de C.V. and Sun Belle Berries S.A. in Chile to ship fruit worldwide during the winter in the U.S.

Since then, Sun Belle grew its North American berry business significantly, according to a news release. It has distribution facilities in Miami, Jessup Md., Schiller Park and Oxnard, Calif.

The company has focused on marketing, handling and distribution, varieties and bringing new pack types to market, according to the release.

“Giddings’ decision to pursue its dream of shipping its own label presents Sun Belle with a wonderful opportunity to bring more innovative programs and finer product direct to market from the grower,” Honigberg said in the release. “Though Giddings has been an important source of berries to Sun Belle Inc. during the import season, we have increasingly worked directly with superb growers during this part of the year, and will continue to bring the highest quality berries to market.”

Honigberg said Sun Belle works directly with top quality growers and packers during the domestic season to ensure a year-round supply to meet customer demand.

The company opened in 1986, importing Chilean raspberries and marketing blackberries from the Virginia Tidewater. Sun Belle also started importing greenhouse vegetables from Israel, the Netherland and Belgium, according to the release.

Sun Belle markets conventional and organic berries, as well as golden berries, red currants, biodynamic organic cranberries, organic pomegranate arils, and greenhouse and specialty produce.