Adrian Capote, owner of J&C Tropicals

“Dragon fruit is by far biggest growth item within the US exotic fruits category”

“Health conscious consumers are really getting behind dragon fruit,” says Adrian Capote with J&C Tropicals. “The fruit contains very low sugar levels, is high in anti-oxidants and boosts metabolism.” Millennial moms in particular are very interested in the exotic fruit variety. “With its vibrant colors, dragon fruit looks very pretty, which makes it an impulse buy for many. Therefore, our biggest effort is educating the consumer on the health benefits and telling them how to eat it,” Capote mentioned.

Florida harvest coming up
Domestic harvest is coming up with the season running from June through October. “South Florida grows about 600 acres of dragon fruit and production increases year over year,” shared Capote. The fruit is grown in the Wetlands near Homestead and the indications for this year’s season are good. Last year, rains cosmetically challenged the fruit, but hopefully, that won’t happen this year.” 

Demand increases 300% year over year
Over the past three years, Capote has seen year-over-year growth rates of 300 percent. J&C Tropicals packed 600,000 lbs. of dragon fruit last year and it is the company’s goal to increase that number to 1 million lbs. this year. This translates to roughly 80 acres of dragon fruit trees that are grown in partnership with other growers. J&C Tropicals also grows a small share itself. A dragon fruit tree produces multiple harvests throughout the season. Each tree is harvested about twice a month, resulting in 8-10 harvests for the season.

“We most commonly sell the fruit by count, broken down in small, medium and large,” said Capote. “Typically, large pieces will go to ethnic markets and retail often asks for a 10-12 pack that can be sold for $2.99 or $3.99 at retail level.”

In addition to domestic production, the US also imports dragon fruit from Vietnam. The country grows millions of acres, but the US only allows imports after the fruit has undergone irradiation treatment. 

For more information:
Adrian Capote
J&C Tropicals
Tel: 305-964-9916

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