( Courtesy Crystal Valley Foods )

Guatemala’s exports of specialty vegetables and fruits to the U.S. have been steadily rising over the past two decades.

According to figures cited by the Guatemala Produce Trade Association, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has reported fresh and frozen fruit imports from Guatemala have increased 18% from 2014-18, to 5.8 billion pounds. Fresh vegetables in that category have remained steady, at an average of 147 million pounds a year, according to the USDA.

Imports include French beans, sugar snap peas, snow peas, blackberries, baby vegetables, rambutans, papayas and plantains.

“We can offer year-round because Guatemala offers attractive growing conditions throughout the year,” Charlie Eagle, vice president of business development for Southern Specialties Inc., Pompano Beach, Fla., said in the release. Additionally, its proximity to South Florida enables us to move product quickly and manage the cold chain efficiently.”

Katiana Valdes, marketing director at Crystal Valley Foods, Miami, said Guatemala’s infrastructure has been improving rapidly.
“Our growing partners all maintain rigid quality and food safety programs,” Valdes said in the release. “It’s with this focus on quality and food safety, the variety of production areas, and continuous advances in agriculture techniques that Guatemala’s specialty exports have been able to expand.” 

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