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Oregon’s future in organic

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Oregon has a reputation as an environmentally friendly haven, but it isn’t immune from some larger food trends.

For instance, organic produce doesn’t have unlimited growth potential, even in Oregon.

Jason Comella, salesman at Botsford & Goodfellow, Inc., BB #:100733 a brokerage headquartered in Portland, says the substantial gain in market share for organics over the last decade has leveled off.

But he believes the category is “still very steady” and will certainly play a role in the future. He acknowledges conventional is where the volume is, but he wouldn’t “be surprised if retail turns to all-organic on select products instead of carrying both.”

Sam Caruso, president of Caruso Produce, Inc., BB #:100737 also based in Portland, acknowledges the region’s heightening demand for organic produce and has created a business plan around the burgeoning niche.

The company is planning to increase its organics reach, by “building a new state-of-the-art facility to help us achieve this goal.”

He believes higher organic sales “will nearly pay for the difference between our new building’s mortgage and the rent we currently pay. We’re looking for new growers every day and are aggressively growing this category.”

This is multi-part feature adapted from the Oregon spotlight in the January/February 2020 issue of Produce Blueprints.