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US demographics boost starfruit consumption

Starfruit, also called carambola, is in the midst of its 5th straight year of record-breaking production. “Yields continue to increase every year due to better farming practices,” says Peter Leifermann with Brooks Tropicals. Carambola is grown in Miami-Dade County as well as on Pine Island, the largest island in the state of Florida.

Changing US demographics
Thirty years ago, carambola was considered a specialty product, but over time, the fruit has become mainstream. The fast growing pace of the Asian and Hispanic population has resulted in an increase in carambola consumption. “Children in particular love it,” said Leifermann. “It is a convenient fruit that can be eaten out of hand as well as sliced.” 

The growing season runs from August through February and is characterized by two production peaks; one in September and one in January. “This provides us with two promotion opportunities. September is great timing as kids go back to school and January fits in well with the New Year’s diet,” mentioned Leifermann.

Shipping limitations
Currently, Brooks’ carambola can be shipped fresh from the tree to all US states except for California without phytosanitary treatment. Brooks has developed USDA approved protocol in their groves that minimizes the opportunity for Caribbean Fruit Fly contamination. After receiving approval from the Texas Department of Agriculture, Brooks is now working closely with the USDA and Florida and California departments of Agriculture for their protocol to be approved. “Our efforts have resulted in approval from Texas, which allows us to ship the product without cold treatment or irradiation. We are hopeful California will be able to join the rest of the nation in enjoying our delicious, healthy and fun-to-eat carambola as well.” 

For more information:
Peter Leifermann
Brooks Tropicals
Tel: +1 305 247 3544

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