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Ecuador's yellow dragon fruit no longer just a boutique item
Ecuador has made yellow dragon fruit (pitahaya) available to the US only since late last year; first shipments were sent to the American market in late summer and early fall. Itís an Ecuadorian cultivar which has a brix of between 21-23, compared to the red variety, at 13-14.
Most supply into the US has been predominantly the red variety but that may change, per Enrique Garcia of Itís Montse Fruits Inc. "Traditionally you have the (red) dragon fruit with red or white flesh but this one is kind of new in the US market," he says. Fruit is shipped into the US for his customers through a company in Homestead, Florida. Fruits is available almost year round with two or three minor interruptions during the calendar year.
Itís a popular fruit in the Asian market, though he says everyone who tries the yellow dragon fruit likes it because itís so sweet. "They put a premium on the sweetness of the fruit. Thatís why itís more expensive," he says. "Any time you have a premium fruit thereís an opportunity to increase revenue. As it becomes more popular then more people will start growing it and the price bottoms down." A 9.9lb case FOB Texas sells for $35 currently. Garcia anticipates more Ecuadorian growers getting into dragon fruit next year.
Thereíve been a couple of significant changes he has noted since they first began their yellow dragon fruit program about six months ago. Being a more boutique item, at the beginning growers were offering 2.5 kilos per box and then moved up to 4.5 kilos as itís increased in popularity steadily. "My opinion is that it will exceed the sales of the regular dragon fruit in about two or three years."
For more information:
Itís Montse Fruits Inc.
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