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"We've been working on importing mangos from Jamaica since 2014"

The first shipment of Jamaican mangos to the US has arrived in Miami. The mangos arrived last Thursday and are due to be available in stores any day now. The Jamaican mango export season actually begins in early May, but because of the additional procedures this year, the mangos have just started arriving in the US. Season's Farm Fresh has brought the mangos in from Jamaica.

"It's been a project we've been working on with growers, shippers and customers since 2014," said Nick Bernal of Season's Farm Fresh. "Although we are a private importer, we have spearheaded the actual process of getting the mangos here, working with everyone on the supply chain to make sure we have the right routing, packaging, and programs in place. Jamaica has been exporting mangos to Canada and the UK for years, but due to the additional protocols for these first shipments to the US this year, we have joined in half way through the season. We will have volume through the end of July."

Two main varieties
The two varieties of mangos imported from Jamaica are the Julie and East Indian mango. These vary from the ubiquitous Tommy Atkins and other types commonly found in the US market because they are generally smaller in size and have a different texture and flavor profile. Overall volumes this year will be limited as companies look to build demand and supplies over the coming years.

"We carry both the Julie and East Indian mango varieties, but mostly Julie as it tends to be a better shipping mango," Bernal noted. "They are very unique in flavor, having very low fiber content and a creamy, sweet flesh. Hopefully we will shift a few thousand boxes this season and increase this over the next few years as we continue to establish demand and also volume. Our goal is to market to the Jamaican Diaspora in places like Miami and New York who have been craving for the mangos from their home country. Once established, we hope demand will expand into the broader market as people become more interested."

"We are packing them in 10lb flat trays and this is how we plan on marketing the mangos," he added.

Working with the supply chain
As Bernal mentioned, Season's Farm Fresh has worked with all groups along the supply chain. The company's aim was to make sure everyone gained something from the shipments, which in turn would help make the program a success. The first stage was to source the mangos from farms that are free of pests.

"Most of the farms in Jamaica are very small when compared to other countries with huge plantations," Bernal explained. "Our protocols allow us to source from farmers that have fruit fly trap data available, demonstrating that they don't have any. We have also helped companies to approach government regulators and offer assistance with that process, while at the same time working with retailers. We wanted to work with the whole supply chain in order to make sure everyone got something out of it."

Bernal concluded by sharing that the Jamaican mango program is one of many that Season's Farm Fresh is working on. "We consider ourselves the 'Indiana Jones of the fruit world'," he said. "We really like to import fruit from different parts of the world and help open markets where previously there was either none or were open in a limited way. Importing Jamaican mangos is just one of the many things we are working on."

For more information:
Nick Bernal
Season's Farm Fresh
Ph: +1 (305) 608-9020

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