( Courtesy HLB Specialties )

Weather has plagued some tropical fruit crops on the front end of the hurricane season this year in some growing regions, while carryover from a hurricane last year has left its mark on production in Florida, suppliers say.

Still, marketers say that there should be ample supplies of tropical fruits available for the fall. 



The Mexican mango season has entered the last two months of its 2018 season, reaching as much as 64 million boxes, as of the end of July, from the 83.6 million boxes projected for the season and about 2 million more than the same time last year, the Orlando, Fla.-based National Mango Board reported. 

Kent and keitt are the two predominant varieties coming from the northern states for the remainder of the season, the board said. 

“As we transition to the off-shore season — Brazil, Ecuador and Peru — this fall, we will begin seeing tommy atkins and ataulfo/honey mangoes from Brazil and Ecuador and kents from Peru,” board marketing manager Angela Serna said.

The first shipments of Brazilian mangoes arrived in mid- to late August, and the first Ecuadoran fruit will hit the U.S. market in mid- to late September, Serna said.



Florida avocado production was dealing with fallout from Hurricane Irma nearly a year earlier.

At Homestead, Fla.-based Unity Groves Corp., which specializes in green-skin avocados, the hurricane forced “a rebuilding year,” said Louie Carricarte, president and owner.

“It cut the volume in about half,” he said, estimating normal yearly volume at about 200,000 bushels.

But, Carricarte said, production was ongoing and should continue, as normal, through January. 



Rain in Veracruz — Mexico’s main lime-growing region — has complicated the lime deal there, said Tonya Hill, Amazon Produce Network’s Texas regional manager.

“The market is extremely active and a little tight now,” she said Aug. 10. “We started at $14-15 and (are) ending this week at $22. There are some harvesting issues with weather.” 

The lime market likely would stabilize by early September, Hill said.

Florida limes will be lighter this year, due to the fallout from Hurricane Irma last September, said Louie Carricarte, president and owner of Homestead, Fla.-based Unity Groves Corp.

“It’s smaller due to the storm, which affected the trees significantly,” he said. “We’re probably half our normal crop.”



Other tropical items should be available in ample supplies, said Robert Schueller, director of public relations for Los Angeles-based World Variety Produce, which markets under the Melissa’s label.

Sizing on Mexican jackfruit is larger, and production will be normal around mid- to late September and throughout the fall, he said.

Volume of yellow dragon fruit from Ecuador, in short supply in August, should improve in September, he said.

There will be ample volumes of white and red dragon fruit out of Vietnam, although “red flesh will always be more limited,” Schueller said.

Hot weather in California could curtail volumes of passion fruit out of California, Schueller said.
Taiwan’s starfruit season is due to start at the end of September, Schueller said.

“However, in past years, weather conditions in growing fields have been tougher — changing weather patterns and rain,” he said.

Calgary, Alberta-based Thomas Fresh anticipates high volumes of dragon fruit, pummelo, star fruit and cracked coconut, said Andrea Dubak, marketing specialist.

Pompano Beach, Fla.-based HLB Specialties anticipates its first Mexican organic formosa papayas in mid-September, said Melissa Hartmann de Barros, spokeswoman.

Production of Brazilian golden papayas has slowed a bit because of rain and cold in Brazil, but the pace was likely to quicken by September, she said.

The Guatemalan rambutan season will run until mid-November, and Honduras was on track to start in early September, de Barros said. 

“The fruit is looking good, and production is very strong,” she said.

Yellow dragon fruit from Ecuador should start in early September, she said.

Dragon fruit was “a bit light” in Florida, due to the after-effects of Irma, Carricarte said. 

However, he said, longan and guava have “had pretty good seasons."