Pineapple growers expect ample volumes - The Packer

Pineapple growers expect ample volumes

02/03/2012 09:43:00 AM
Susie Cable

Courtesy Frontera Produce Ltd.Pineapple plants growing in late January in the state of Veracruz, Mexico, are destined for Frontera Produce Ltd.’s packing house in Isla, Veracruz. Edinburg, Texas-based Frontera markets gold pineapples from Mexico and Costa Rica, says Javier Gonzalez, vice president of ethnics/tropicals.Pineapple marketers say crops look good and they expect plenty of fruit for spring promotions.

Dole Fresh Fruit Co., Westlake Village, Calif., expects to market about the same volume of pineapples this year as it marketed last year.

“Both supply and quality are expected to be strong over the next several months,” said Bil Goldfield, communications manager.

The market in late January was fairly strong with good demand for high-quality fruit, he said.

About 65% of Dole’s conventional and organic pineapples are from Costa Rica, which in late 2011 received heavy rains that affected some pineapple crops.

However, Goldfield said Jan. 26 there had been no adverse weather affecting Dole’s pineapples in Costa Rica or in other areas.

Dole also sources pineapples from Honduras, Guatemala, Ecuador, Hawaii and Panama.

C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc., Eden Prairie, Minn., expects to market 10% to 15% more pineapples this year as compared to last year, said Chris Harris, director of sourcing category development.

Costa Rica’s pineapple crops endured some cool nights in December that could affect supplies in May or June, he said.

However, there’s been strong demand and strong supply of good quality fruit, with Costa Rican pineapples coming in with brix of higher than 14, he said.

Although some Costa Rican growers’ crops were affected by heavy rains in the fall, C.H. Robinson’s supplies have fared well.

“We have been lucky and have gotten through that fine,” Harris said.

About 66% of C.H. Robinson’s pineapples are grown in Costa Rica, 30% are grown in Mexico, and the rest are sourced from Ecuador and other regions.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported on Jan. 27 a steady market with one-layer cartons of size 5 golden ripe pineapples from Costa Rica priced at $14-15 at the Miami terminal market.

Mexican production

Mexico’s gold pineapple production ramped up in late January, said Javier Gonzalez, vice president of ethnics/tropicals at Frontera Produce Ltd., Edinburg, Texas.

It was a perfect time to have increased volume, he said, because sunny, warm weather has cooperated in producing good shell color.

Retail buyers who are concerned with color should be more open to buying pineapples from Mexico, Gonzalez said.

“Right now, we have better color than Costa Rica,” Gonzalez said. “That’ll dazzle the customer that looks for good color.”

Gonzalez said he expects good volumes this season — similar to last year — for Frontera, which markets gold pineapples from Mexico and Costa Rica.

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