Marc Holbik, director of grower relations for Ecoripe Tropicals in Medley, FL, told The Produce News that the company carries a widely diverse line of Asian fruits and vegetables.
“The line was developed specifically for a wide range of Chinese, Indian and Southeast Asian cuisines,” said Mr. Holbik. “These foods and the dishes they are used in have become increasingly popular in North America.”
The foodie explosion in North America is playing strongly in the ever-growing increase in demand of these specialty items. In Ecoripe Tropicals’ vegetable line, for example, it offers Chinese eggplant.
“This is a long and thin variety of eggplant,” said Mr. Holbik. “It is a favorite due to its thin skin and delicate flavor. We also carry a small Indian variety eggplant and a green Thai eggplant.”
The company offers numerous varieties of bitter melons, okras, peppers and squashes, which comprise the remainder of its Asian vegetable line.
Mr. Holbik said that the majority of these vegetables are grown in the cool tropical valley of Comayagua in Honduras, where microclimate and soil conditions, combined with decades of production experience of its growers, result in an ideal production environment for these products. Availability is year round, with supplemental production from local farms in South Florida, as local weather permits.
“In Asian fruits, we offer rambutans, lychees and longans, three of the finest tree fruits originally from Southeast Asia,” said Mr. Holbik. “Rambutans are grown in Guatemala, with a seasonal production from May to November. Lychees and Longans are summer fruits grown in South Florida. We also offer other locally grown seasonal Asian fruits, such as Thai guava, June plum, dragonfruit and carambola.”
Ecoripe Tropicals is continuously working to meet the growing needs of the Asian-American communities as well as the increased cross-cultural integration of many of its Asian products.
“We have seen an amazing growth in the consumption of rambutan this past season, and we expect to see continuing growth for this product in the next season,” said Mr. Holbik. “We have also experienced rising demand in the Chinese eggplant, as more people are learning about the excellent culinary characteristics of this variety.”
In addition to a wide range of Asian products, Ecoripe Tropicals handles an extensive line of typical tropical fruits and vegetables. The company’s tropical fruit line includes coconuts, papayas, pineapples, mangos and limes. And it handles passion fruit and starfruit. Its specialty vegetable line is comprised of peppers, peas, breadnut, green papaya, tindora, breadfruit, long beans, sweet potato leaf, mong toi, chive flower and other unique items. It also handles root vegetables such as white and yellow turmeric, yucca, malanga eddoes and chayote.
The company is firmly committed to the success of its farming partner enterprises by working hand-in-hand to develop market-driven projects. Mr. Holbik said it strives to provide the best in communication and service to the people and companies with which it works.
“From locally grown Florida produce, papayas from Belize and Brazil, mangos from Peru, rambutan from Guatemala and vegetables from Honduras, our farming partners span the Western Hemisphere,” said Mr. Holbik. “The assurance of freshness, taste, food safety and consistent quality is a challenging task that is taken on with passion by our quality growers.”