Monthly Archives: October 2017

PMA Fresh Summit lands in the Big Easy

NEW ORLEANS — The Produce Marketing Association kicked off its 68th annual Fresh Summit convention and exposition Oct. 20, here, drawing members of the fresh fruit, vegetable and floral industry from around the globe. While the final numbers were not yet available, there were indications that the event would draw a record number of attendees.

Melissa Hartmann de Barros, Rubens Zylberkan, Ryan Reilly, Homero Levy de Barros and Samantha Barthel of HLB Specialties promoted the company’s newest addition to its tropical fruit line — pitahaya.

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U.S.: Brix “two to three times higher” for yellow dragonfruit, says HLB Specialties

Florida-based tropical fruit importer HLB Specialties is upbeat for the prospects of yellow dragon fruit in the United States following two successful shipments to kick off Ecuador as a newly available country of origin

In a statement, operations director Andres Ocampo told Fresh Fruit Portal the fruit was brought in via air freight to service both East and West Coast markets.

“So far we have had great reception from our customers, one of them mentioning that he had never called back as fast as he did after receiving our pitahaya (dragon fruit) samples,” Ocampo said.

“We measured brix on the fruit and we got 24, which is between two to three times as high as what you get on the red dragon fruit, which is sometimes compared to pitahaya although they bear different PLUs (price look-up code),” he said of brix, a common measurement for sweetness in the fruit sector.

“We will have the fruit available at our booth (#3653) at PMA Fresh Summit for our customers to sample an enjoy the newly available product in the USA.”

He added the season would be year-round but with lower volumes in May and June.

“We are aiming for customers who crave new flavors and are looking for a different product that carries a lot of taste,” he said.

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“Shipping pitahayas started the minute the regulation came into effect”

“On October 7, we received our first shipment of pitahayas from Ecuador,” says Andres Ocampo with HLB Specialties. “Since then, we’ve done about 5-6 shipments. The product has made a strong start and we are very excited to continue growing it.” 
Ocampo first heard about the pitahaya from Ecuador a few years ago. “In February at Fruit Logistica in Berlin, there were rumors that the market for pitahayas from Ecuador would open up this year. It was a bit of a surprise to me that it came this quickly,” he shared. “I am very familiar with the fruit variety and have been working with growers for the past 1-1.5 years. The combination of knowing the fruit and actively pursuing the growers has enabled us to start importing pitahayas from Ecuador so quickly. The minute the regulation came into effect, we started shipping,” said Ocampo. This was at the end of September. 
Year-round production
Pitahayas are grown in Ecuador year-round, but production is sensitive to changes. As a result, supplies are exposed to small gaps. “Weather patterns have changed so much in the past few years, making production more unpredictable. Historically, production is lower in May and June.”
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North America HLB Specialties LLC

3327 NW 55th Street
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309

T +1 (954) 475 8808
F +1 (954) 475 8896

Europe HLB Tropical Food GmbH

Am Weiher 2a
65451 Kelsterbach
Germany / Bio-Zertifikat Nr.: DE-ÖKO-044

T +49-6107-98781 0
F +49-6107-98781 14