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Steady season for California cactus pear fruitSupplies out of California for sweet cactus pear fruit are currently steady and the season winds down next month. “We have a steady supply of cactus fruit and our volume is consistent with last year. Our season is from September to March,” says Gabriella Besaw of D’Arrigo California. “D’Arrigo anticipates its season to finish up in the middle of March.”
The fruit, also known as Opuntia ficus-indica or Indian Figs, are grown by D’Arrigo in Gonzales, CA approximately 20 miles south of their Salinas Headquarters. Competition meanwhile comes from Mexico and Italy. However, Besaw notes that typically the fruit season from those countries are during California’s off-season, though some growing seasons do overlap.
East Coast demand
Demand meanwhile for the fruit comes from mostly Eastern Canada and the East Coast including New York, New Jersey, Florida, Boston and some in the Los Angeles market. “It’s a popular ethnic item typically most popular amongst Italian and Hispanic communities,” says Besaw.
D’Arrigo has a puree processing plant in Gonzales, CA and they sell the magenta colored puree to companies that further process the puree to create cactus pear juices, sorbets, bar mixers, spirits, and cactus pear waters, including a newer product, CaliWater. “We’ve seen demand for our puree increase over the last few years,” says Besaw.
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