Continental Fresh transitions to South American mango deal
Continental Fresh, which specializes in tropical imports from Latin America to retail, foodservice and wholesale customers in the United States, is slowly winding down its successful Mexican mango program and gearing up to receive its first shipment of Brazilian mangos around the second week of September.
“We’ve had an extremely successful Mexican mango season with over three million boxes of the Water For All label,” Miami-base Continental Fresh CEO Albert Perez told The Produce News in late August. “That label donates one penny per box to water projects in Latin America, which is a passion for us.”
While Continental Fresh does not have the Water For All label for its South American shippers, it does have a label called Special Fruit, which the company has been working with for many years, Perez noted.
“We have a good presence for Brazilian mangos, which will take us through the middle of November,” he said. “Then we will move on to source mangos from other South and Central American countries as they become available, including Ecuador, Peru and Guatemala.”
Perez added that the Brazilian mango deal is running a little late in the season and promotable volumes will not be available until after Sept. 15 and will peak in October.
“We’re also hearing that there is potential for rain in the Mexican area of Los Mochis, which could cause Mexican mangos to end a little earlier than normal,” he said. “We feel like there could be a perfect window for Brazil to come in and be able to promote for half of September and all of October — so it’s a great window for us.”
Continental Fresh also handles a small citrus program from South America, including Chilean lemons and Peruvian mandarins, which it is currently importing, as well as Peruvian sweet onions, which is in its second year for the company.
“These are smaller programs but have consistent quality and complement our mango program, although that is our biggest item by far,” Perez said.
In other news, Perez shared that applications are still open for Continental Fresh’s Water For All Trek — a three-day adventure hike taking place Nov. 18-23 in the Dominican Republic to raise money for BLUE Missions, which funds clean water for communities in need.
“It’s a three-day hike where we will summit the tallest mountain in the Caribbean,” Perez said. “On the fourth day, we visit one of the water projects we have built.”
It is Perez’ ninth year climbing this particular mountain and the first year the trek has been opened up to the produce industry. So far there are 15 people signed up to participate and Perez hopes to recruit more, but did note that it is not a hike for the faint of heart.
“You have to train for it, it’s not something you just show up and do,” he said. “But anyone can do it as long as you’ve done a little preparation.”