As the temperatures rise, so do sales of organic fruits and vegetables, marketers say.

“Spring and summer items, such as stone fruit and berries, sell well during the warmer months,” said Kristina Lorusso, regional business development director with Los Angeles-based Giumarra Cos.

Demand for items like avocados remains steady year-round, she said.

Celery, broccoli and cauliflower are big sellers in the spring, while melons and berries see increases in the summer, said Chris Glynn, organics director with Salinas, Calif.-based vegetable grower-shipper Tanimura & Antle Inc.

Categories that sell well conventionally in spring and summer will mirror the success in organics, said Alex Jackson Berkley, assistant sales manager for Los Alamitos, Calif.-based Frieda’s Inc.

“Organic melons, spring vegetables and stone fruit will be in high demand, for sure,” she said.

Seasonal items at Wenatchee, Wash.-based Stemilt Growers LLC see sales spikes as the weather warms up, said Roger Pepperl, marketing director.

“Our organic cherries, peachesnectarines and apricots are a big deal,” Pepperl said.

“We also have an organic Piñata supply in the summer too that is growing in popularity.”

Spring and summer signal more product choices across the organic category, said Mayra Velazquez de Leon, CEO of San Diego-based grower-shipper Organics Unlimited Inc.

“All the fruit that becomes available in the spring and summer” sells quickly, she said. “During the winter, the array of possibilities is limited, so coming into spring everything that is new is welcomed.”

Berry sales zoom in the spring and summer months, said Chris Ford, organic category manager with Vancouver, British Columbia-based The Oppenheimer Group.

“I would say certain berries, because now you’re looking at domestic production in berries,” he said.

“I’d say particularly strawberries and blueberries. I’d say we’re going to see a resurgence in kiwi berries, which is an up-and-comer, and (New Zealand-based Zespri International Ltd.) is banking on that one in the next five years. That’s an exciting piece of fruit to put in that fruit set.”

There also are new-crop organic pears, particularly out of Argentina, which have gained popularity in the spring season, Ford said.

“That’s a good area of growth,” he said. “I see organic pears in particular take more retail space this time of year because they’re popular for Easter and spring and provide a transition in retail from old crops to new.”

The organic apple category has transcended seasonality, said Steve Lutz, senior strategist with Wenatchee-based CMI Orchards.

“Really, apple sales have no season,” he said.

“As long as the quality, selection and pricing are good, consumers will continue to buy. There is some reduced availability during the summer months as some varieties of organic apples will not hold in storage. As a result, some of these varieties are imported from organic producers in the Southern Hemisphere.”

Salinas-based berry grower-shipper Naturipe Farms LLC promotes “Peak of Season” organic berries, with promotions to go with them, said Brian Vertrees, director of business development-West.

“Retailers who are in tune with organic supplies do a great job of promoting during the peaks so their consumers can get the best quality and value of the season,” he said.

However, seasonality is playing a lesser role in organics than in the past, and that is as it should be, said Ray Wowryk, director of business development with Leamington, Ontario-based greenhouse vegetable grower-shipper NatureFresh Farms.

“Today’s organic consumer expects to see organic produce on store shelves year-round,” he said.

Nevertheless, summer “is all about fruit,” said Addie Pobst, organic integrity and logistics coordinator with Mount Vernon, Wash.-based Viva Tierra Organic Inc.

“There’s always a lot of excitement when the first apples and pears are harvested in California and Washington,” she said.

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