According to the company, organic Formosa or Tainung papayas as they are also known, had not previously been commercially available in the U.S. in substantial volumes.
“We started developing this organic papaya four years ago, preparing the soil, doing tests, improving the shelf life,” HLB president Homero Levy de Barros told www.freshfruitportal.com.
“Previously there were no organic papayas available in the U.S. in large quantities.”
The fruit is grown in the central Mexican state of Michoacan and transported up within one day to the Texas distribution center, from where they are shipped throughout the U.S. and Canada.
De Barros said the papayas were cultivated in a protected microclimate that allowed for the right conditions to grow the fruits organically with the minimal amount of pesticides. The area is shielded from heavy rains, extreme weather, and strong winds.
“Papayas are very difficult to produce. You can have the same company, the same growers, the same conditions, the same seeds, but if the area is slightly different you will have very different results,” he said.
“You can count on your hands the number of large growers who have succeeded year after year to produce a steady crop.
“We have 23 years experience growing papayas and so we now have excellent results with them.”
The HLB representative added ‘substantial volumes’ of the organic papaya were now available now, and the company had the space and resources to boost quantities in the future if required by the market.
He also mentioned he was expecting consumption of the fruit to increase.
The fruit can be conditioned to achieve a desired maturity, according to customer specifications.
However, the release said Formosa papayas were ready to be eaten with just two or three stripes of yellow and didn’t need to be ripened to 100% color to be sweet and tasty.
The new HLB Formosa fruit sticker includes a ripeness indicator that shows buyers the ideal color necessary to enjoy a sweet and ripe papaya.
“Consumers love the ripeness indicator because it helps them find the right fruit for them,” director of sales Lorenz Hartmann de Barros said.
“This is especially useful for people who are trying papayas for the first time.”
Formosa papayas are the large papaya kind and similar to the Central American Maradol papayas in size, but the Formosa variety in known to have a sweeter flavor and longer shelf life, according to the release.
All papayas marketed by HLB are non-GMO, not irradiated, and their Brazilian Golden Caliman Papayas are FairTrade-certified.
HLB handles a variety of other tropical fruits, including mangoes, avocados, limes, rambutan, and cape gooseberries, also known as goldenberries.