Coral Gables, Florida-based Chestnut Hill Farms, an international grower, shipper and marketer of Costa Rican MD2 pineapples, has partnered with Fresh Fruit out of the Dominican Republic to provide organic fair-trade bananas to North America.
“Fresh Fruit was the perfect company for us to partner with because of their shared vision regarding helping their communities and forward-thinking approach to sustainability,” said Chestnut Hill Farms President/COO Raul Romero. “This new partnership will provide distribution of bananas 52 weeks a year to customers on the Eastern and Gulf coasts of North America.”
Fresh Fruit, a family-owned company founded in 2009, has developed a strong brand in the European market where organic and socially responsible fruit has taken off in recent years.
Fresh Fruit focuses on growing bananas sustainably in the fertile soils of the Dominican Republic and has more than 675 hectares within its own production and more than 1,500 hectares from associate growers. A state-of-the-art, solar-powered packing facility, which includes 3,000 total solar panels over three farms, allows fruit to be packed and shipped while creating a carbon-free footprint.
“We believe that organic, fair-trade produce is an under-represented category in North America that will continue to grow as consumer demand shifts,” said Romero.
Both Chestnut Hill Farms and Fresh Fruit are strong believers in giving back to their communities through social responsibility. Each has community initiatives in place to assist with public schooling, infrastructure, social programs and trading with integrity throughout the supply chain.
“At Fresh Fruit, we are proud to have seen our commitment to fair trade co-fund the opening of a kindergarten and primary school in Mao Valverde, providing high-quality education to more than 70 children,” said Fresh Fruit Director Pol Vermeiren. “Three years ago, we welcomed a Belgian teacher to our Bambini team. She is sharing her knowledge and experience of the European education system to help us in the pursuit of providing high-level education for our workers’ children. Many of the other schools in the area have adopted some of these practices, resulting in something of an evolution in the local education.”