Bridges Produce Ramps Up Organic Berry Program
- by Maggie Mead
PORTLAND, OR - In the heart of summer, the weather may be sweltering and the AC working overtime, but the berries are plentiful, and in that, friends, there is reason to rejoice. Berries abound this season, bringing joy to the taste buds of backyard BBQ-ers and all who seek to partake in the produce bonanza that is summer. Bridges Produce, berry expert, is bringing its exceptional Northwest-grown organic berries to market throughout the season, so consumers across the country can stain their teeth and fill their bellies with some of summer’s juiciest fruits.
“Our growers are flavor focused, hand-picked operations that utilize aggressive pruning and multiple harvests, while patiently waiting for peak maturity to ensure excellent size and quality,” said Michael McMillan, Berry Category Manager. “Most shippers are moving to mechanical harvesting for the fresh market, which results in less mature fruit that has had more handling. We are also increasingly relying on shade cloth to manage fruit stress and bring fruit with superior flavor to the consumers.”
Bridges Produce is expanding its Northwest organic blueberry program, teaming up with production partners in all key growing regions of the Pacific Northwest. The company is able to provide continuous supply throughout the summer months from a diverse group of fresh market-focused independent operations who cultivate specialty berries. This year’s tumultuous weather had berry and summer fruit lovers concerned, but the Northwest growing region area has remained on track for a normal season.
“While the start date is late-to-normal, it has been an ideal growing season so far and we have strong supply ahead,” McMillan commented.
Bridges Produce’s blueberry season began the week of June 24 and product will ship through the end of September. A full range of pack sizes, including 6 oz, pint, 18 oz, and 2 lb, will be available through July before transitioning into smaller packs in August. Starting in late July and shipping through September, Bridges will also offer organic blackberries from Hayton Farms—one of its grower partners, and a fifth-generation family farm. The blackberry program will reach its peak during a tight supply window, with limited availability.
“Initially we thought that we sustained cane damage from last winter’s record low temperatures, but we are now anticipating a normal-to-strong season,” said McMillan.
Bridges Produce prides itself on connecting customers to the right growers and right product to bring maximum value to both parties—all while providing a continuous supply of berries and logistical support throughout the domestic summer season, across multiple growing regions.
“Bridges’ strength lies in being able to bring together this group of dedicated family farms to create one robust full season program that allows ease and convenience for the customer,” commented Sydney Fairchild, Marketing and Compliance. “We also ensure that all our berries are grown and packed by operations that have current third-party food safety certifications and are dedicated to the constantly evolving industry food safety and traceability standards.”
With berry season in full swing, a steady supply is key, as consumers will be craving their favorite summer treats and won’t want to wait. I predict berry pies as far as the eye can see—deep purple hues, glistening in the sun, and children scampering around, faces smudged with berry juice—a true sign of the season.
To get all the updates on summer fruits, keep reading AndNowUKnow.