The Costa Rican melon season will kick off at United Fruits in week 7. Gerbert van Egmond and Frank Levarht run this branch within this Dutch company. They have been operating their own business unit within United fruits, called LEFresh, since July 2022. Importing Costa Rican melons brings the two men back to their roots. For the past 20 years, they have been closely involved in establishing the Costa Rican melon company Rica Fruta S.A. and marketing those melons within Europe.
United Fruits now also participate in Rica Fruta S.A. This collaboration began last summer with the launch of the new business unit. "Melons were never one of United Fruits' core products, but our arrival changed that," Gerbert says. "This lets us continue the intensive cooperation with growers in Costa Rica and our European customers. We've been working with these, non-stop, for more than 20 years."
In week 4, the first shipment of melons left for Europe and should arrive early in week 7. "Weather permitting, these arrivals will continue until week 17/18. We're growing several varieties, like Galia, Cantaloupe, Piel De Sapo, yellow melons, and several kinds of watermelon, this year again. The melons are Rainforest Alliance and GlobalGAP certified, among others." Gerbert explains.
He says an important trend is that smaller watermelons, the so-called 'mini seedless' are becoming increasingly popular. "Variety improvements, consumer behavior changes, and lower store unit prices could explain this."
In recent years, the supply of melons from Costa Rica has shrunk significantly. "In 2020, that country still had 5,200 hectares of melons. That decreased in 2021 and 2022 to around 3,500 hectares. This year's acreage is about the same as in 2022. However, the supply of Cantaloupes will increase compared to yellow melons," concludes Gerbert.
For more information:
Gerbert van Egmond / Frank Levarht
United Fruits - LEFresh
1411 AW, Naarden, NL
Mob: +31 (0) 620 014 454