The Port of Savannah (GA) is now handling grapes imported from Peru, adding to the list of cold-treated perishables using Savannah as a port of entry.
“Savannah currently handles avocados, citrus and sweet onions from Peru,” said Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Curtis Foltz. “With the introduction of Peruvian red globe grapes, we are now receiving all of the category leaders from Peru.”
The grapes, moved from Andean Sun Produce farms in Ica and Piura, Peru, are part of a US Department of Agriculture program, in which citrus, grapes and blueberries are chilled for at least 17 days prior to entry into the United States. Removing potential pests via cold treatment reduces the need for pesticides.
“By landing produce in Savannah, buyers can take advantage of much shorter and faster overland transportation to Atlanta and other major markets across the US Southeast,” said Foltz. “This means a fresher product for end consumers as well as lower supply chain costs.”
The grapes are grown along the coast of Peru with early varieties grown in the north and later ripening varieties in southern Peru.
“Weather conditions in Peru allows us to grow and harvest grapes throughout the year, but because of market needs our season goes from October to December in the north and from January to March in the south,” said Edward Villar of Andean Sun Produce.
Andean Sun Produce, based in Miami FL, is the US marketing agent under the “Gold Cup” brand on behalf of La Calera and Talsa, two large Peruvian growers of citrus, blue berries, avocados, grapes and mangos. For its trial run on grapes, produce wholesaler J J Jardina brought in the red globe variety. Matt Jardina, of the Atlanta GA-based company, said using the Port of Savannah saves time and freight costs.
“It is nice to have only a four-hour truck ride to Atlanta versus a day and half from the Philadelphia ports,” said Jardina. “It allows us to get the product into our warehouse more quickly and begin selling the grapes a few days earlier.”
Villar said plans call for moving all varieties of red and green seedless grapes grown. “We will continue to use the Port of Savannah for our summer citrus season, and we are close to starting with blue berries,” he said.
The USDA program to allow cold-treated produce to enter through more US ports will relieve congestion at older ports of entry, while shortening the supply chain between producers and final consumers, according to Villar.
For more information, go to www.gaports.com.