US: Organic Formosa papayas finally available

“Until now, organic Formosa (or Tainung) papayas were not commercially available in the US,” says Melissa Hartmann de Barros with HLB Specialties. “In an effort to meet customers’ increased demand for organically grown, non-GMO fruit, we’ve spent the past four years working with a grower from Mexico on developing the right product. We are the only importer to offer conventional as well as organic Formosa papayas in substantial quantities to support year-round programs.” HLB is involved in the entire supply chain, from seed to sales.

Formosa has pleasant aroma“As a conventional papaya, the Formosa variety has been available for about 15 years in the US, but the bulk of imported papayas is the Mexican Maradol variety,” said Hartmann de Barros. “Both varieties are similar in size, but the Formosa variety is known to have a more pleasant aroma, sweeter flavor and longer shelf-life. As a result, Formosa is slowly becoming more popular in US and Canadian supermarkets.”
Short transit timesThe organic Formosa papayas are grown in Central Mexico. The area has a protected microclimate that allows 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. From the growing region, the fruit travels less than a day to reach HLB’s distribution center in McAllen, TX and from there HLB ships orders ranging from a few cases to truck loads. “Papayas typically have a shelf-life of 30 days from cropping. If the fruit is stored and handled correctly, it should have at least three weeks of shelf-life once it reaches the store,” mentioned Hartmann de Barros.

Ripeness indicator“We developed a new sticker that includes a ripeness indicator, showing the buyer the ideal color necessary to enjoy a sweet and ripe papaya.” The Formosa papaya is ripe and tastes best when it’s 50 percent green. Formosa papayas are sweet, tasty and ready to be eaten with just two to three stripes of yellow. “Consumers love the ripeness indicator because it helps them find the right fruit for them. This is especially useful for people who are trying papayas for the first time,” adds Hartmann de Barros.

The papaya is known to be a very healthy fruit variety. Hartmann de Barros mentions that just half of a large papaya has 150 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, which is more than an orange provides. Papayas also have high levels of antioxidants, beta-carotene, lycopene, and the enzyme papain that breaks down protein and therefore promotes digestive health. All papayas marketed by HLB are non-GMO, not irradiated, and the company’s Brazilian Golden Caliman Papayas are FairTrade certified. 
Please visit us at booth #2069 at the PMA!

Contact:Melissa Hartmann de Barros

HLB SpecialtiesTel: (+1) 954-475-8808

Publication date: Tue 11 Aug 2015
Author: Marieke Hemmes