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US: HLB thrives with mix of varieties, sources

HLB Specialties, a supplier of exotic fruit based in Pompano Beach, Florida, has been in the exotic fruit business for nearly a quarter of a century. In that time, they've expanded the area from where they source their produce throughout Central and South America. That healthy mix of sources, along with a good mix of fruit varieties, allows them to offer a steady supply of fruit throughout North America.

HLB imports and distributes Brazilian Golden papayas and Guatemalan and Mexican Tainung papayas, along with Haas avocados from Mexico, limes from Guatemala and mangoes from Central and South America. It's that variety of sources that has set them apart, especially when it comes to papayas, noted Melissa Hartmann de Barros, director of communications for HLB.

“For the last 20 years, our strength has been our handling of papayas,” she said. “We're the sole representative for Caliman Papayas in the U.S., and we've distinguished ourselves from the competition by sourcing our papayas from different regions and growers.” She added that they also distribute different varieties of papayas in order to make sure there's a steady supply, even when unforeseen circumstances pop up.

“For the U.S. market, the Brazilian Golden papayas are sourced from two different Brazilian growers, and the large Tainung variety is sourced from four different growers in two countries,” she said. “This way we can avoid production and weather-related disruptions that would otherwise compromise the programs that we have with our retail clients.” Their distribution network that stretches from Florida to Texas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle, also ensures coverage throughout the United States and Canada, which has earned them a good reputation among their clients.

“We're recognized for our customer service and quality of products,” said de Barros. “We have strong relationships with our growers and we're involved in every step of the supply chain, so we can maintain fluid communication with our customers.”

For more information:
Melissa Hartmann de Barros
HLB Specialties

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