South Florida supplies fall tropicals

11/05/2010 11:36:44 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Florida is a leading producer of tropical fruits and vegetables.

While south Florida may be better known for its green-skinned avocados, growers in the Redlands growing region also produce smaller volumes of tropicals such as boniato, star fruit, mamey sapote, passion fruit and kumquats.

Florida’s avocado season typically begins winding down in the fall.

Shipments normally start in June and hit peak volume in July with volumes starting to decline in November, with July, August, September and October producing the most volume.

Courtesy Brooks Tropicals

Shipments of green-skinned avocados begin to decrease in November. “With our SlimCados, we’re past the peak of the season, but we have a nice crop of late-season fruit to get us through December,”
says Mary Ostlund, director of marketing for Brooks Tropicals Inc.

Mary Ostlund, director of marketing for Brooks Tropicals Inc., said the late season fruit possesses strong quality.

“With our SlimCados, we’re past the peak of the season, but we have a nice crop of late season fruit to get us through December,” she said in mid-October. “We will go into February with lighter volumes. We really see the late season crop not as affected by the cold weather of the 2009-10 season than the other varieties, but it’s always a lighter crop during that time of the year.”

The leading Florida avocado grower-shipper, Brooks expects to ship more than 400,000 bushels, down from last season.

J&C Enterprises Inc., Miami, plans to ship fruit through March, though at considerably smaller volumes, said Peter Leifermann, tropical sales and category manager.

Because of colder weather during the winter and spring, he said the industry this season would be lucky if it could ship 850,000 bushels, 25% off from last year’s 1 million bushels, more typical of season production.

Leifermann said fewer acres of late season varieties mean the industry produces smaller volume November through March.

“Add to that a year like this year where supply is down, and you have much less supply available for the marketplace,” he said in mid-October. “We will see demand exceeding supply for the most part from here on out.”

Other tropicals
During the fall and winter, south Florida is a major grower and supplier of a variety of comparatively small volumes of fall tropical items.

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