Chile and Argentina: Visit to the organic producers

In early November, two of our Dutch BioTropic colleagues set off to visit Chile and Argentina: Ronald Vianen (Operations Manager Netherlands) and Joep van Koevorden (Sourcing and Sales Netherlands).

Their first destination was the San Roque Farms estate in Chile. In the fertile Bio-Bio region, Ignacio Lopez grows the Hayward kiwi variety. Back in the eighties, his father was already farming his land according to organics methods. In one of our next news issues, we will be elaborating on Ignacio and his kiwis.

From Chile it was on to Argentina, in the vicinity of San Juan in the west of the country. There, Ronald and Joep visited the squash specialists at Iceberg Agricola, who distribute butternut and Hokkaido squashes. The first Hokkaido squashes of this year should be ready for harvest at the end of December. Andres Barbieri was next on the list to visit: Barbieri farms garlic and at the time of our visit was in the middle of harvesting. From what Ronald and Jeop could ascertain, his Perla variety of white garlic looked very good -- calibres 5 and 6 are the predominant sizes. The garlic plants are left to dry on the field and then are coarsely cut. The onions are then cleaned, sorted and packaged in the packing station.

The last visit was down in the south, in the Rio Negro province. This fertile oasis amid the Patagonian steppe is world-renowned for its delicious apples and pears. It is home to many family companies who, as well as apples and pears, have been growing other agricultural crops for many years. We visited some of the best organic establishments: among them Ernesto Bartusch at La Deliciosa and Sergio Seco at La Conquista. We have been working with Ernesto Bartusch for years; La Conquista even supplies exclusively for BioTropic in Europe. How is the situation looking? Argentina and neighbouring Chile were plagued by a period of frost in the spring of this year. Many fruit trees that had begun to flower were caught by the cold. As a result, the plum yields are much lower this year. "This year's apple and pear harvests are looking promising, however," said Ernesto Bartusch. "What could still affect us fruit farmers is hail," he added. Should everything go according to plan, the first Williams pears will be harvested in mid-January 2014.

Tags: Apples (GB), Argentina (GB), Pears (GB), Chile (GB), Iceberg Agricola (GB), Joep van Koevorden (GB), Kiwifruits (GB), Garlic (GB), Pumpkins (GB), La Conquista (GB), La Deliciosa (GB), Plums (GB), Ronald Vianen (GB), San Roque Farms (GB)

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