Tour of Chile’s Orchards, Vineyards and Farms Builds Bridges to North America’s Produce Industry

Leaders in the retail produce trade are touring the fruit-growing regions of Chile, one of the top sources of fresh fruit during the North American winter.

The trip was designed to provide a comprehensive overview of the Chilean fresh fruit industry, including its orchards, vineyards, packing facilities, fruit inspection sites and Chile’s main port of Valparaiso, as well as additionally being hosted by the Chilean Blueberry industry in Virquenco. Tour participants have met with growers and exporters to observe first-hand the Chilean produce industry’s commitment to food safety and the intense efforts that go into ensuring that fresh fruit arrives in North America in the best possible quality and condition.

“Driven by North Americans’ love for fresh summer fruit all year round, Chile has become a dominant exporter to the U.S. and Canada especially during our winter months,” says Tom Tjerandsen, North American managing director of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association. “By showing produce industry leaders Chile’s unique production areas, this trip will deepen their understanding of Chile, its production zones, the commitment and passion of the growers and, hopefully, build a stronger bridge with one of America’s leading trading partners.”

(left to right): Fernando Balart, marketing manager USA/Latin America for ASOEX; Andres Armstrong, general manager for the Chilean Blueberry Committee; Tom Tjerandsen, managing director for CFFA; Melissa Heinrich, produce director for Walmart; Randy Brittain, procurement director for the Military Produce Group; Dave Rhodes, produce operations director for Marsh; Alejandra Contreras, vendor development manager for Loblaw's; Nick Penry, produce marketing and operations manager for Federates Co-operatives Limited; Marcus Vincent, commodities buyer for Safeway

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