Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Press Release: Papaya Operations Poised to Come Back Strong and Fast

Press Release, August 29, 2007

“Six months,” said Craig Wheeling CEO of Brooks Tropicals, “that’s how long it should take to get back up to normal levels of papaya production. In fact, 2008 will set new heights in papaya production for us.”

Just one week after Hurricane Dean made landfall just north of Belize - where Brooks Tropicals’ Caribbean Red and Caribbean Sunrise papayas are grown and packed - Brooks Tropicals is in the final stage of clean up while the majority of the work effort is now refocused on the replanting process.

“We expected that downed trees and power outages would make clean-up top priority,” said Wheeling. “But with the nursery having made it through the storm in good shape, we’re replanting. And we started replanting as soon as possible. Our customers are inconvenienced but in six months Caribbean Red and Caribbean Sunrise papayas will be back and will be back better than ever.”

Brooks is replanting with nursery stock that’s a result of five years of research and development that will produce papayas with the best in taste and shelf life.

“I wasn’t surprised to see photos coming out of Belize showing acres of papaya trees down and scattered fruit. That’s to be expected given the ferocity of Hurricane Dean. But we are prepared for this. We’ve done this before,” said Neal (Pal) Brooks, Owner and President of Brooks Tropicals.

“We’ll come back from Hurricane Dean larger and stronger in papayas,” said Wheeling. “That’s our commitment to our customers.”

Proof that the firm has the capability to do so can be seen on the walls of the executive offices in Homestead where an aerial photo showing fields of overblown SlimCado trees and torn off roofs from hurricane Andrew is hung next to a recent photo showing today’s manicured fields and larger headquarters complex. Brooks was the first south Florida agricultural facility back in operations after that August category five hurricane. To do so the firm’s pulled together building supplies and a supplementary workforce from further north to bring the facility back up to full operations in early December.

Having set historical precedence with its comeback from hurricane Andrew, it should be of no surprise that construction work on the new headquarter buildings is scheduled to quickly resume. Plans to install custom-designed machinery for packing Caribbean Red and Caribbean Sunrise papayas are going forward. It’s scheduled to be in place before Thanksgiving.