MAS honeydews escaped Hurricane Patricia, show high sweetness levels
Nogales, Arizona-based melon distributor MAS Melons & Grapes has highlighted exceptional brix levels for its Colima-grown honeydews this season, which are expected to be more than apt for customer demands U.S. and overseas markets.
MAS president Miguel Suarez told www.freshfruitportal.com the company and its grower partners had post-harvest practices that ensured the fruit held up well when cut, even in markets like Japan - which should receive about 30% of supply this year - where the melons take around 21 days to arrive.
The fruit is individually scanned for sugars before packing, and shipments of the popular orange-fleshed melons started last week with good promotional volumes expected.
On average the fruit has had a sweetness level of 10-13° Brix.
"In the winter, on the one hand consumption drops a bit but we also see there is not much fruit to supply in melons in general," he said.
"Restaurants and hotels try to have melons for breakfasts so it’s an important product. What’s most important is that we have very good quality fruit."
The U.S. remains the main market for the fruit, but the company and its grower partners - AV Farms, Cosechas Agricolas, Grupo Carter and Grupo Ruy - also sell the fruit in Japan, Hong Kong, Canada and Mexico.
"We didn't used to sell in Mexico but we do now because of the Walmart effect and people are getting to know them," Suarez said.
Luckily for MAS, the deal was not particularly affected by Hurricane Patricia last year, which led to substantial damages for other crops in Colima like papayas.
"We hadn’t even planted 5% of the hectares where we grow our melons, so the other 95% wasn’t affected by the hurricane," he said.
"The cycle for growing melons in the state of Colima is around 60-65 days, whereas for a papaya tree it is more like 18 months."
Suarez emphasized demand was good for the fruit, which MAS could supply for 10 months of the year.
"The cycle starts in Caborca, Sonora in the first week of October from there to the north we can harvest until mid-December," he said.
"Then around Dec. 20 we start to harvest in Colima and we go until the end of April, starting again in the first week of May in Sonora where we have two seasons. In September we generally stay out of the market."