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HLB Specialties first to import Goldenberries without cold treatment

Pompano Beach, FL-based HLB Specialties, a U.S. importer and tropical fruit specialist, has resumed importing fresh Colombian goldenberries, also known as cape gooseberries

Previously, the fruit had to undergo a 14-day quarantine treatment mandated by USDA before being distributed in the United States, which dramatically reduced shelf-life and increased costs. Now shipments from verified “fruit fly free zones” can enter the country without undergoing the cold treatment and HLB Specialties is the first to receive new shipments.

“Previously it was difficult and costly to handle Colombian Goldenberries because the cold-treatment would give us only about one week to sell, distribute, and have the shoppers enjoy the fruit at home,” said Andres Ocampo, HLB Specialties’ director of operations and Colombian himself. “With the new regulation we have two to three weeks shelf-life and can offer a much more competitive price.”

Fruti-Reyes-125 The turn-around time is extremely fast, sometimes only 48 hours from cropping to arrival at any major U.S. airport. HLB Specialties carries the fruit in baskets and clamshells of 3.5-ounces each that come in boxes of 12 units (baskets) and 9 units (clamshells). They can be flown to any U.S. airport and there is currently no minimum order requirement.

Goldenberries grow year-round on a vine and resemble small tomatillos with a brown papery husk covering the round, cherry-sized fruit, which protects the berry and is removed at the time of consumption. The fruit is yellow when ripe and its unique flavor is sweet-tart, refreshing and slightly acidic.

“Since the fruit is grown virtually wild and with little human interference and minimal pesticide use, most people don’t even wash the fruit, just remove the husk and pop it in their mouths,” noted Melissa Hartmann de Barros, the company’s director of communications. The berry can be a little sticky due to the natural oil that serves as a protectant. Because goldenberries are such an uncomplicated and healthy snack, “it’s easy to lose track and finish a whole clamshell in one sitting while working or entertaining,” according to Hartmann de Barros.

Fresh goldenberries have a distinct presentation, making them a versatile item used in foodservice. In Europe, where they have been popular for years, they are commonly used as garnish in cocktails, desserts, juices and fruit salads. Their tart flavor also makes them a perfect pairing with cheese and wine or chocolate ganache. Goldenberries are marketed as a superfruit due to their high concentration of nutrients, such as antioxidants, vitamins A and C, as well as fiber. They are cropped sustainably.