Melissa’s offers conventional and organic South African baby pineapples.
The single-sized fruit don’t require coring and are growing in popularity with single households, Schueller said.
Other tropical fruit, including starfruit, coconuts and dragon fruit, are experiencing high demand, Schueller said.
“Publicity from places like the TV Food Network has played a huge role in helping people incorporate more of these fruits into meals,” he said. “Most of these items are known for eating out of hand, but there are different things one can do to add texture, flavor and color to tropical fruit salads. The tropicals add color, crispness and crunch to many dishes.”
While lychee remains a seasonal item, rambutan is sold throughout the year and are increasingly hitting more retail shelves, Schueller said.
Though a Hispanic staple, guava is continuing to cross over into American palettes, he said.
Finger limes have also experienced double-digit sales increases, Schueller said.
South Florida production
South Florida’s tropicals generally begin harvesting in late May in time for the commencement of the seasonal heavy rains.
Those rains help size and ripen the passion fruit, thai and red guava, dragon fruit, starfruit and lychee, said Peter Leifermann, Brooks’ director of sales and fruit procurement.
Passion fruit should be in full production throughout May and June with sporadic production until January, he said, while he expects both varieties of guava to be strong through the summer.
Dragon fruit should see “generous availability” this season after it begins harvesting in early June while July and August should bring large volumes of starfruit.
On lychee, Leifermann said he expects another year of light May and June production.
Mamey sapote started harvesting in mid-March but volume typically increases in June.