Florida in middle of avocado, tropicals seasons - The Packer

Florida in middle of avocado, tropicals seasons

09/05/2013 02:23:00 PM
Doug Ohlemeier

Florida avocado growers report favorable quality and sizings for the 2013-14 crop.

Retailers can count on promotable volumes of the larger sizings of the green-skinned fruit through November, said Peter Leifermann, director of sales and fruit procurement for Brooks Tropicals LLC, Homestead, Fla.

In late August, Leifermann described quality as high.

“We had to knock on wood as we have had a drier summer than last year, so we have a lot cleaner fruit than last year,” he said. “September will remain a nice peak for the large size fruit. As the season goes into September and beyond, promotable volume is to be in the larger-sized fruit.”

Leifermann said buyers can expect to merchandise the 8s or 1.5-pound fruit.

Brooks packs about half of the 1 million 55-pound bushels south Florida grower-shippers plan to ship this season, similar to last season, Leifermann said.

Although the season usually ends in February, volume begins to lessen in September after growers start harvesting in June and ship promotable volumes in July and August.

Adrian Capote, vice president of sales for J&C Tropicals Inc., Miami, said the season brought an abundance of fruit that kept prices low.

“There are a lot of Florida avocados,” Capote said in late August. “The trees this year have been giving good yields. Overall, the quality has been good. Overall demand is good as well.”

In late August, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported cartons of one-layer flats from south Florida fruit selling for $6-6.50 for the 8-9s and $6.50 for the 10-12s.

The USDA reported simmonds, bernackers and Miguel as the predominate varieties being harvested.

J&C plans to ship through February.

Fall tropicals

South Florida growers grow a variety of tropical fruit and vegetables throughout the fall and winter.

The leading commodities include carambola or star fruit, boniato, dragon fruit and passion fruit.

Carambola harvesting begins in July and continues through March, with peaks in August and January and February, but Leifermann said this year’s summer peak will not come until September.

Dragon fruit usually harvests July through late September.

Leifermann said quality remains high and Brooks is seeing high buyer and consumer interest.

While passion fruit usually brings two annual production peaks, in May and June and November through late February, this year buyers can expect a third peak in October.

Leifermann attributed the third burst of volume to fruit escaping winter damaging frost.

Growers start harvesting passion fruit in mid- to late September, with the crop’s production peak occurring November through January, Capote said.

This year’s boniato crop is set to start in early September, a few weeks later than usual, Capote said.

Capote said the crop that harvests through January and February looks good and that the first crop center growers tested in mid-August displayed strong quality and yield potential.



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