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Central American growing season wraps up

US demand for mangosteen strengthens

The short Central American mangosteen season has just about finished for the year. Most importers sourcing their fruit from this region have now sold out of the product. The focus is now on shipping their remaining stock to customers who will have to wait until next summer to get new stock from Central America.

In Mexico and Guatemala, mangosteens only grow for a few months over the summer rainy season in the tropical parts of the countries. At other times of the year, mangosteens are sourced from Southeast Asia, primarily Thailand, where they are available year-round. 

Soconusco Produce are a Mexican company who distribute mangosteens in the United States from their Texas warehouse. Enrique Vera of Soconusco, said that the season was not affected by any other weather events. "The mangosteen season in Mexico and Guatemala is finished for the year now. It's only a short one, lasting about 3 months from June to early September. It's been a pretty good season, supply was steady and the growing regions were not affected by any of the hurricanes that have passed through."

US market demand strengthening
The United States has to import all their mangosteens, because the fruit is not able to grow commercially due to its exacting weather and soil requirements. However, demand is strong and suppliers like Soconusco continue to sell out of the product. 

"Mangosteens need to be in the field for at least 5 or 6 years before they fruit, and it's a really difficult crop to grow," said Vera. "We generally order 4 to 5 pallets a year and they always sell out. Every year, we gradually increase our order and are able to fill the growing demand. Many of the customers are Asian grocers, but we sell to a mix of smaller retailers as well as large chains."

Vera said that, despite the strong demand, they are prudent with their orders in order to maintain fruit quality as well as a sustained price. "When you order mangosteens, you need to sell it right away. It should take no longer than 3 weeks for the product to make its way from the field to the consumer. This ensures the fruit remains as fresh as possible and will maintain the delicious taste and rich color," he explained. "The market price for mangosteens has hovered around $35-$45 for a 10lb carton. It can fluctuate with volumes and if we see a larger amount being imported, this tends to put a downward pressure on prices."

For more information: 
Enrique Vera
Soconusco Produce, LLC
Tel: +1 (956) 821-0400

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