Hainan longans stay fresher than imported Thai longan

Fresh longans easily spoil after they are harvested. They quickly develop enzymes that turn the fruit brown. In order to keep the fruit fresh and extend its shelf life, they are treated with sulfur smoke. This technique is applied to large volumes of Thai longan imported to the Chinese market.

The sulfur-based preservation technology is rapidly maturing. The longan treated in this way remains bright for one or two weeks, or even longer. The longans remain attractive during the distribution process and are more popular with consumers. Although they remain sweet, the sulfur smoke treatment does slightly alter the flavor. That is why consumers will not find ecological Thai longan with the stems and leaves still attached.

"Kio" brand longan from Hainan

The longans from Hainan do come with leaves and stems still attached. This seems unfair to customers who pay for the weight of leaves and stems too, but this is actually the best way to keep the fruit fresh and extend its shelf life. This is how longan farmers on Hainan avoid the fruit turning brown. The leaves and stems reassure the consumer that the fruit is fresh and has the original fragrance and flavor of Hainan longan.

The island has many different longan varieties. The two most popular varieties are the Shixia and Chuliang. This is the season when Hainan Shixia longan enter the market. This variety is slightly smaller than the Chuliang, but the fragrance is richer and the fruit is sweeter.

Workers select longan

In addition to Hainan, Chinese longans mainly come from Guangxi and Guangdong. Hainan has a clear market advantage compared to other Chinese longan. Hainan has unique weather conditions, rich fertile soil, and abundant sunshine. These are excellent growing conditions for longan, and that is why the Shixia longan is larger and sweeter than mainland Chinese fruit. Some production areas in the southwest of Hainan, including Dole orchards, suffered from a cold air current, but the impact on longan growth was minimal. The production volume was virtually unaffected.

"Kio" brand longan from Hainan

"We have a longan orchard in Hainan that covers an area of roughly 133 hectares. We grow our own longan and purchase from partners. We have devoted around 66 hectares to Shixia longan. These longan supply the market between December and late June in the subsequent year. The Shixia longan will be sold out once or twice during the season because of changing weather conditions. This season the conditions have been better than usual and the growth of Shixia longan has been unaffected so far. The price has shown a steady rise." This is according to Mr. Wu Bin of Kio (Hainan) Agricultural Development Co., Ltd.

"Kio" brand longan from Hainan

According to Mr. Wu Bin, "the production volume of longan changes every year. This year our production volume slightly declined because we are making a shift towards standardized production of premium longan. We are making changes to better guarantee product quality. We want every single longan to have full, sweet flavor. Our longan are sold under our own brand "Kio" through our own retail channels. We mainly sell our premium longan in Shanghai, Beijing, and Shenzhen. And we sell second-grade longan in wholesale markets and via group buyers."

For more information:

Mr. Wu Bin

Kio (Hainan) Agricultural Development Co., Ltd.

Tel.: +86 400-775-9176 

Tel.: +86 158 2192 1811 

E-mail: holiday.farmer@foxmail.com 

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