Volumes for large pineapple sizes are lower than usual right now because of some adverse weather conditions in Costa Rica, says Adriana Garcia from Chestnut Hill Farms. “There have been some intense rains in Costa Rica recently which has had some impact on the production. We also have less large size pineapples than we planned for, but fortunately the brix levels and internal condition have remained stable and quality is very consistent,” says Garcia.
Lower volumes from Costa Rica
Chestnut Hill Farms is an integrated farming and marketing company who grow pineapples in Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. Garcia explains: “We have developed a worldwide distribution and currently deliver our pineapples to retailers and companies in the foodservice industry in North and South America, the Caribbean Islands, Europe, and Asia.”
The company harvests and supplies their pineapples year-round. “Pineapple is a year-round crop; we plant and harvest every week of the year. Traditionally, there is a peak in production for the pineapples in May and June, and overall there tends to be more availability during the first semester. This being said, though, the pineapple industry out of Costa Rica exported 7% less volume in 2019 compared with the volumes in 2018, and this is a trend that we expect to continue into 2020.”
Challenging balance between demand and supply
The main challenge for this season, according to Garcia, will be balancing supply and demand. She says: “There is strong demand in the different markets in which we operate. But we do have limited supplies of large sizes - we are below our plan. The size of the fruit is related to the weight of the plants when we induce them 20-21 weeks before harvest. The reason why there is less availability of large fruit in the industry is because we have less hectares planted due to the poor market conditions of 2017 and 2018. The plants were also affected by the weather conditions during the earlier parts of 2019.”
“We anticipate that there will continue to be more demand than supply this semester because retailers have planned several special promotions for pineapples throughout the coming months,” Garcia adds.
While this year has just started, so far the quality of the pineapples produced by Chestnut Hill Farms has been good. “We have excellent eating quality for our pineapples in 2019. It is still too soon to know if this might continue on into 2020, but so far the quality has been great and our goal is to maintain this,” Garcia shares.
Fruit Logistica 2020
With Europe being one of their main export markets, Fruit Logistica is an important event for Chestnut Hill Farms. “We expect to engage with key players in the industry and set the basis to implement strategies to educate consumers about the health benefits of pineapples and promote pineapple recipes,” Garcia shares.
Chestnut Hill Farms will be in Hall 25, booth C-14.