This is the first year that Arava Export Growers have had the Orly variety of prickly pears as part of their assortment. This Israeli company exports fresh Israeli produce worldwide and has added this organic product to their assortment.
“Italy is the largest producer of prickly pears in Europe”, says Yair Ohana, Sales Manager at Arava. “They enter the market in August and stay until the end of October, I believe. Our season starts in July and goes until the end of April. So, our fruit we will be on the market before and after that of Italy.”
“Prickly pears seem to be very popular”, he says. “There is demand from the European market but also from the United States. Our main sales destinations will be France, East Europe, and, of course, the US market. The season’s prices generally start at about EUR4 per kg”, explains Yair. “This drops when the Italian product arrives in August.”
Not much competition
Yair says there is not much competition from other countries. “During the season we see small volumes out of Morocco, Portugal and Mexico”, he says. “Not nearly as large as Israel or Italy.”
The farm where this Orly variety is produced, started growing this exotic fruit in 1992. “Since then it has expanded to 1.200 acres”, he says. There are also new varieties of prickly pears available. These do not cause the health issues of their older counterparts.