It’s currently cherimoya season in southern California and suppliers are seeing steady volumes of the exotic fruit. Production has reportedly not been affected by the consistent rainfall which has seemingly stationed itself over California for the past month. In fact, producers say the rain has been good for the fruit.
“We mainly source cherimoya from early December through late April, into early May depending on the season,” said Carlos Fierro of Izguerra Produce based in Oxnard. “Most of the domestically-grown cherimoya grows in southern California, with our ranches located in the Santa Barbara area. The rain has not really affected production and volume is about the same as in previous years. In many ways, they have a similar growing pattern to avocados.”
Fierro added that the supplies from the partner growers they work with allows the company to distribute cherimoya throughout the southern California region. “Izguerra Produce works with a couple of farms and in total, they supply us with an average of 300 – 400lb per week,” he said. “We distribute mainly around the southern California district including Los Angeles.”
Consumers seeking out the fruit for health benefits
Cherimoya are still considered an exotic fruit in the United States. Furthermore, they are relatively expensive and therefore have filled a niche market. Suppliers say this is changing steadily as more people become aware of the health benefits of the fruit, adding that one of the groups that tend to buy more cherimoya than most are cancer patients.
“Demand for cherimoya is increasing as people learn more about them and the nutritional benefits,” Fierro explained. “Many people will also get the leaves and make tea out of them. They are a good source of vitamins and research suggests this is especially so for cancer patients. Many in the Asian community also eat them on a regular basis despite the high cost. It’s not uncommon for people to pay upwards of $15 – $20 for an individual piece of fruit because they can grow quite large.”
Despite the high cost, demand continues to grow and Izgeurra Produce is happy to continue to deliver the locally-grown fruit to its customers. “We focus entirely on local production when it’s in season,” Fierro shared. “The fruit is fresher and it is easier to distribute them, because we pick them up ourselves from the farms and deliver directly to our customers.
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