Mexican mangoes take the spotlight

02/25/2013 09:32:00 AM
Mike Hornick

It’s Mexico’s turn to export mangoes.

Consumers are about to see the bright yellow and orange ataulfo variety hit retail displays, bringing an alternative to the Peruvian kents that have lately dominated the market.

“We expect to start harvesting mangoes right after Presidents’ Day weekend,” said Chris Ciruli, partner in Nogales-based Ciruli Bros. LLC. The grower-shipper, which markets ataulfos under the Champagne label, expects to start selling the fruit from its Nogales and Donna, Texas, facilities around Feb. 22.

Ciruli’s Mexican mango production starts in Chiapas. By the third week of March, the company expects to start harvesting some crops out of Oaxaca.

Farmer’s Best International, Nogales, also expects to start its Mexican mango production with ataulfos in late February. The fruit is available through June or into July.

Other varieties — hadens, kents, tommy atkins, keitts — will hit the market by summer. The ataulfo is promoted for its nonfibrous, smooth texture compared to the tommy.

The Giumarra Cos. became the exclusive distributor in the U.S. for Sinaloa-grown R.C.F. Produce mangoes last year. It reflects a long-term trend of rising production in Mexico and demand on the U.S. side.

“We have a lot of interest in the upcoming mango markets,” Ciruli said Jan. 28. “I think you’ll see some good promotions put out there in March to get customers excited that will carry us through the end of the August season.”

Ciruli expects to see the typical 10% to 15% annual rise in volume continue indefinitely.

“We won’t get our first field projection until right before we start to harvest, but in general I’d say you would again see that double-digit growth and expect it to be normal going forward,” he said. “There’s a lot of stuff planted and a lot of it is coming up over the next few years.”



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