“Strong demand for our Mexican berries is expected during February-April with limited competition”
FD Berries' stellar growth in Mexico continues with expansion plans to reach just over 750 acres (303 hectares) in March, while they prepare the ground in Sebring, Florida, USA, for 100 acres (40 hectares) of blueberries. Sam Ahilan, CEO of FD Berries, says it was always his intention to be US/Mexican growers. They are also focused on testing a number of berry varieties with trade partners and universities, including long cane blackberries.
“Our intention has always been to be an American/Mexican producer. FD Berries USA LLC was created last year and purchased 200 acres of orange groves in Sebring Florida at the end of October 2022. We will plant 100 acres (40 hectares) of blueberries in 2023. We are excited to see the growing and harvesting methods of blueberries in North America. We plan to harvest 4 to 5 million pounds of all the berries on our farms. Our blueberry crop is expected to reach 2,8 to 3 million pounds this year,” says Ahilan.
FD Berries' stellar growth is supported by Ahilan's ownership of the US-based company FibreDust with factories in India, Sri Lanka and Mexico, where they grow berries on the premium FibreDust-True Blue blend substrates and its Mexican facility Costa Sur. “The key to success is a strong partnership and a willingness to experiment with a wide variety of berries with each expansion. This includes blueberries, raspberries and blackberries,” says Ahilan.
“FD Berries began operations in May 2018 with a 100-acre (40-hectare) project. Since then we have embarked on multiple expansions with a new phase of production every quarter, but often faster! Current expansion plans will have FD Berries on over 750 acres (303 hectares) of berries by the end of March 2023. Many blueberry varieties are grown at FD Berries. These include Biloxi, Ventura, Victoria, Bianca, Sekoya Pop and Beauty, as well as Atlas.
In addition to blueberries, FD Berries is growing many varieties of raspberries, including Adelita, Enrosadira, Bella, Malu, Sarafina, Primalba, and Rafiki. FD Berries is also growing blackberries with a focus on Cado, Ouchita, Von and Sultana varieties, as well as University of Arkansas blackberries. These varieties are being tested for commercial production. Our strategy is to focus on major marketing companies such as Northbay Produce, Alpine Fresh, Berry World, as well as our own brand FD Berries,” explains Ahilan.
He says that Jalisco will dominate the quality of fresh berries in the North American market for the next 12-16 weeks. “We will be shipping more than 3,5 million pounds of berries to North America and smaller volumes to Europe, Japan and Singapore. We expect strong demand for our berries during the February-April period for all berries with limited competition. For the 2022-2023 growing season we will have about 60% blueberries, 25% raspberries and 15% blackberries,” says Ahilan.
While FD Berries continues to expand in the US, their investment in new varieties remains their top priority along with serving their customers. “We are one of the few investing in longstem blackberries in partnership with Northbay Produce and the University of Arkansas. We are investing heavily in testing many raspberry varieties, especially through European breeders. We will be experiencing Sekoya Pop and Beauty at Sebring along with many other varieties from the University of Florida,” concludes Ahilan.
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