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Chilean loquats available till Christmas

“Due to bad weather earlier this year, the Chilean loquat season has been delayed. Normally we run a season from September till the end of November. This year production started three weeks late. Instead of having the loquats available till around Thanksgiving, we can offer this specialty fruit up until Christmas time.” Gabriela Carvajal from Summerland Export in Chile reports. Summerland is an exporter and distributor of a wide variety of fruits.

The market for the Chilean loquats, also known as Níspero, is mainly the Eastern West coast of the US, like Los Angeles and New York. Sometimes it occurs that we export to Italy, Spain and France, continues Gabriela. “However, since it’s not densely planted, we refer to small quantities of loquats compared to for example blueberries. Spain and Italy have their own production of loquats, but they have the opposite season from the South American production. In total Chile has up to 35,000 kilo of production, of which approximately 70% is exported by Summerland.”

Gabriela explains that loquat is a niche product and more a specialty fruit. “Chile doesn’t have many fields and it’s a delicate fruit with tender skin. Moreover, the harvesting and handling is difficult and labour intensive. All export goes through airfreight, which adds high logistic costs. The result is an expensive fruit. This might also be the reason the demand hasn’t increased much over the years. If we could find a way to make airfreight cheaper, the products will consequently become more affordable. Till then it’s an addition to the choice people have in the assortment of exotic fruits. Something special, that not many people know.”

Summerland notices a peak in the season during the months of October and November. “It’s most of the time till thanksgiving and after that we try to get as close as possible to Christmas time. However, this year the situation is different and we will ship till week 51/52 (on request). This period suits well with the product. At this time of the year people are willing to spend more money on food, as well as on fruits.”

A disadvantage of the tenderness of the fruit is that weather effects the product easily. Gabriela gives an example: “The el niño brought along unstable weather conditions with fluctuating temperatures. This effects the maturity of the fruits and it slowed down the whole process. The same goes for cherries and blueberries, resulting in a delay in this year’s season. Moreover, the bad weather Chile had to deal with in September and October harmed the loquats as well. Marks and scars are visible. The fruit doesn’t meet the standards for export anymore, so lots of fruit goes to the domestic market.”

For more information: 
Gabriela Carvajal
Summerland Exports
Avda. San Francisco de Asís 150, Oficina 717 Vitacura, Santiago, Chile
T: +56 2 955 6836 

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