Golden papayas shipped by HLB Specialties are sizing small this season.
Drought in Brazil, a product of this season’s El Nino, is the reason for the smaller size profile, according to a news release from Pompano Beach, Fla.-based HLB.
While Brazilian golden papayas are small, they are high in sugar and flavorful, according to HLB.
Precipitation in papaya growing regions in Brazil was down as much as 33% to 50% in 2015, according to Caliman Agricola, HLB’s top Brazilian supplier.
“In spite of our growers’ sophisticated irrigation system, nothing replaces natural rainfall, and the fruits are ripening before they grow to the usual size,” Lorenz Hartmann de Barros, HLB’s sales director, said in the release.
Sizes typically peak on 8s, 9s and 10s, de Barros said, but this season more than 50% of the Brazilian crop is made up of 10s and 12s.