Tropical and exotic fruits have become increasingly popular in the US market in recent years and products which were previously only destined for ethnic markets are now also sold in larger retail chains. One of these products is rambutan, which is currently being sourced from Guatemala and Mexico.
Andrés Ocampo of HLB Specialties, located in Florida, says: “We are currently sourcing our rambutan from Guatemala. The season started late April, early May in the Pacific region, which is just across the border from Mexico. Then, as the season progresses, it moves over to the Atlantic area of the country. We’ll source from Guatemala through November, and we start Honduras in September so we overlap with both countries for 2 months.”
Rambutan logistics remain steady; papaya from Brazil is challenged
Rambutan is brought into the United States by air freight, to ensure optimal quality and freshness. Fortunately, even though the amount of overall air traffic has been drastically reduced due to the pandemic, the air freight out of Guatemala hasn’t been affected much. Ocampo explains: “The air freight in Guatemala was almost exclusively done through freighters, so there hasn’t been much change there. Though the prices did increase a bit, it was nothing compared with other countries. It’s been quite stable and manageable.”