At the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit in New Orleans, Oct. 18-20, Brooks Tropicals LLC, headquartered in Homestead, FL, will be promoting the company’s solutions for the rapidly growing category of tropical fruits and vegetables.
“Specialties include Caribbean Red papayas, ‘SlimCado’ avocados, Persian limes, Florida starfruit and Uniq Fruit,” said Mary Ostlund, director of marketing for the company.”
Brooks Tropicals will be exhibiting at Booth No. 1041 at the PMA Fresh Summit, and it will have strong staff representation on hand to meet and greet with customers. In addition to Ostlund, the lineup at the booth will include Pal Brooks, owner and president; Greg Smith, chief executive officer; Bill Brindle, sales and marketing vice president; Peter Leifermann, director of sales; Sam Skogstad, purchased fruit director; Jack Barron, Sue Garcia, Cary Balari and Deanna Obana-Garcia, sales representatives; and Jessica Pritchett, sales analyst.
“Approximately 70 percent of what we sell we grow with food-safety audited fields and crews,” said Ostlund. “Our packing and shipping facilities are also food-safety audited. We grow our ‘SlimCado’ avocados in Southern Miami-Dade County, our Caribbean Red papayas in Belize and our starfruit on the west coast of Florida.”
Charlie Brooks turned to his hobby of growing avocados when the Florida real estate bubble burst in the 1920s. He sold Cuban avocados brought to South Florida by ferry and shipped by rail to the company. Soon he was growing grapefruit, mangos and avocados in the Redlands of Florida. His son, Dick, joined him after college.
To expand Brooks’ reach into lucrative Northeast markets, Dick personally rode a refrigerated truck filled with avocadoes North to prove that his Florida fruit could make it fresh to that region’s dinner tables. Soon northerners grew to love the sweet taste of Florida avocados, enabling the Brooks’ family to tweak and expand its agricultural focus.
In the 1960s, Neal (Pal) Brooks, Dick’s son, followed in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps and joined the company after college. The company has since expanded across the board in planting more acres and managing and packing for its growing-partners.
Today, Brooks Tropicals is known as a leading North America tropical fruit and vegetable specialist. To maintain its reputation for quality tropical produce, the company continually and solidly invests in research and development. This has been essential in producing several revolutionary achievements over the past 30 years that help bring tropical produce to the market in top condition for the enjoyment of North American consumers.
“We distribute across the U.S. and Canada today,” said Ostlund.
“Our primary focus is on retailers and wholesalers, but foodservice operators and processors are growing categories for us as the demand for tropical fruits and vegetables is growing tremendously in all of these categories.”