Oppy Black Pearl plums South Africa

Vancouver-based fresh produce group Oppy has said it has become one of the first to offer South African plums to the North American market following an eight-year hiatus.

After US authorities tightened import regulations on Chilean plums following pest detection in early 2021, Sila Louw, who joined Oppy in the interim to head its South African operations, proposed complementing Oppy’s plum offerings with fruit grown on his home soil – first arriving on the East Coast in late January.

'We look forward to delighting consumers with a variety of first-class-eating-quality plums, offering a diverse collection of flavours, textures and colours, and a dependable item for retail shelves,' said Louw.

The Oppy team is reporting 'excellent growing conditions and crop quality' this season, with supplies planned through March.

Varieties already in the market include Ruby Sun, Ruby Crisp, Fortune, Black Pearl and Midnight Gold, with African Delight, Angeleno and Larry Ann to follow in the coming months.

“While we have brought grapes and citrus from South Africa for many years, it’s a particularly exciting time to dive deeper into new items with a fresh edge, allowing us to offer exclusive options to our customers,” said Oppy’s senior vice-president of categories and marketing James Milne.

Continuing to bring Chilean plums to market under strict protocols, Oppy said it was also importing cherries, nectarines, peaches, blueberries and table grapes from the South American country, with apples and kiwifruit arriving soon.

“This is an excellent opportunity to further diversify across growing regions, adding complementary varieties and volumes from Chile,” added Oppy’s vice-president of South American operations Eric Coty.