Article from the Produce News March 10-24 edition written by Christina
Mary Ostlund, director of marketing for Brooks Tropicals, headquartered in Homestead, FL, a leading grower, packer and marketer of fresh tropical fruits and vegetables, told The Produce News that tropicals are moving into the mainstream in consumer diets.
At first consumers and restaurants were trying these items as something new and unique way to help expand their palette and menus in healthy ways• said Ostlund. “But as familiarity with these interesting and exciting products has increased. There’s been a sling-shot effect. Putting together a vibrant fruit salad in the summer is easy. In winter it’s not as easy as more mainstream fruit are off the peak of their seasons, lower in availability and sometimes in taste.”
“Tropicals do, however, help to rescue us from the winter doldrums and so they play a larger role on the menus during the winter months,” she noted.
“And then summer comes around,” Ostlund said. “With tropicals being more familiar to consumers and chefs, they are reaching for them more than they did the previous summer. It’s a sling-shot effect for tropical sales.”
North American appetites have just been whetted with tropical fruit and vegetables according to Ostlund. Consumers and chefs have not lost their curiosity or interest at making tropicals an integral part of their eating and dining experiences. “Consumers and chefs are going deep,” she said.
Brooks Tropicals, which was founded in the 1920s, solidly invests in research and development in order to maintain the company’s reputation for quality tropical fruit and vegetables. This practice has proven essential in its ability to produce several revolutionary achievements of the past 30 years that help bring tropical produce to the market in top condition for the enjoyment of the North American consumer.
“We grow, pack and sell over 29 different varieties of tropical produce,” Ostlund noted. “We specialize in Caribbean Red® papayas, SlimCado® avocados, Florida starfruit, Solo papayas, Persian limes and Uniq Fruit®.
“Our papayas are year round,” she continued. “SlimCado avocados run from June through January and are popular because they are lower in fat than other avocado varieties. Starfruit is typically available July through April. Uniq Fruit runs January through June.”
Ostlund explained that “Caribbean Red” papayas are grown in the Central American country of Belize. Solo papayas are grown in Brazil. “SlimCado” avocados and starfruit are produced in Florida. Uniq Fruit is grown in Jamaica and Persian limes are grown in Mexico.
She also pointed out that it has been very rainy in Central America during the growing and harvesting season. “This has, unfortunately impacted our Caribbean Red papaya harvests,” she noted.
Besides those tropical items already noted, Brooks Tropicals also grows and ships aloe, boniato, chayote, calabaza, water coconuts, coconuts, Groovy Coconuts®, eddos, hot peppers, ginger, guava, sugar cane, yams, yucca, plantains, kumquats, passion fruit and dragon fruit.
Brooks Tropicals’ website, www.brookstropicals.com, offers handling, usage and nutritional facts, and much more about the items that the company offers. Brooks is also aggressively involved in social media venues, which draws a lot of end users, including consumers, to its product line.