Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Easy way to tell if produce is genetically modified

If a fruit or vegetable IS genetically modified (GM), the number (not the barcode number) on the fruit or vegetable's label will have 5 digits and it will start with 8. 

Check our Caribbean Red Papaya label. It has a 4-digit number which means the produce is conventionally grown. A 5-digit number beginning with 9 would mean it’s organic.

Monday, December 28, 2009

How to spot laurel wilt disease

Excerpt from a 12/25/09 Miami Herald article by Niala Boodhoo.

Lighting, flooding, freezing temperatures and even other diseases can cause something that looks like laurel wilt on avocado trees -- so don't panic if your trees turn brown and begin wilting.But, if you notice a tree wilting and turning brown and the leaves are still hanging on the tree after a week, that's a good time to contact officials so they can come out and take a sample for testing.If you suspect laurel wilt, call the Department of Plant Industry at 888-397-1517.For more information, visit www.savetheguac.com.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ideas for holiday giving

Here are some holiday gift ideas for the tropical at heart.*

Caribbean Red Papaya Apron
Stay clean while cooking with this medium length 35% cotton / 65% polyester blend twill apron. Three spacious utensil pockets to hold all you need. Machine washable. 24" L x 28" W. Made in the USA. Contact blogger to order.

"Honk if you love SlimCado Avocados" Bumper Sticker
Of course, a high quality bumper sticker. There's no minimum order! Durable 4mil thick vinyl, won't peel off. Water resistant inks won't run in the rain or fade in the sun. 11" x 3"

Brooks Tropicals Vintage T-shirt
The softest, smoothest, classic medium-weight T-shirt. 100% fine jersey cotton, combed for comfort. Flattering, stylish fit on virtually any body type. Made in the USA by American Apparel.

Papaya Bowl
Made from dried papaya, this parchment bowl is a stunning centerpiece and guaranteed conversation piece. Artisan Margaret Dorfman hand builds each fragile bowl out of parchment made from slices of papaya through a 12-day process that includes curing, pressing and aging each piece. Place a glass votive candle inside the bowl for a warm orange glow or fill it with fragrant potpourri. Featured in Bon Appetit magazine and on The Today Show.

Key Lime Pie Soap Weighing in at 8 ounces, this hefty slice of key lime pie pack all the sweetness of the real thing without the calories. Lather up with Key Lime Pie and take in the luscious lime scent. Handmade of vegan glycerin. Handmade in the USA.

Progressive Guacamole Masher
Designed specifically for mashing avocados! Easily make perfect guacamole every time with this incredible tool.

Ultimate Lime Wedger
Cut your lime wedges cleanly, all the way through! Simply position the lime over the base, center the handles and stainless steel blade over the top, and push down. Do not use for apples. Pieces interlock for compact storage. Cutting area is 3" in diameter.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Papaya tree ornament

Papaya Christmas tree ornament, yet another example of how papayas have been accepted in North America.

If you're in our Homestead office, you can view the ornament on our reception area tree.

Available online, this ornament was handmade in Poland.

Thanks to Nakita Brooks for finding this gem.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Papaya helps make your skin glow

Excerpt taken from an 12/3/09 article by Patricia called Glowing Skin Tips at yogawhiz.com.

Papaya is good for the skin. Mash a slice of papaya and apply it on your face for 15 to 20 minutes. Papaya contains the enzyme papain that accelerates skin renewal and cell turnover. It is used in skin lightening products because of its exfoliating and skin lightening properties.

Consuming fresh papaya is also beneficial for your skin as it contains vitamins A, E, and C, and other anti-oxidants which provide essential moisture and protection that your skin needs.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

This year's RCMA child artist

This year's featured RCMA artist is Rocio Santiago, a 4th grader at RCMA's Wimauma Academy. Her favorite subject is math, and she loves to ride her bike. Rocio wants to be a teacher when she grows up.

Ms. Santiago drew a fetching wreath of papayas which will be featured in our company holiday cards and in trade publication advertising as shown below.

Every year the Redlands Christian Migrant Assocation (RCMA) raises money by selling Christmas cards that feature the artwork of the children they work with.

For the past five years, Brooks Tropicals has taken the fundraising one step further by taking the artwork for the company's holiday card and using it in our ads in The Packer and The Produce News.

We hope that by featuring RCMA artists like Ms. Santiago in our advertising, more people in the produce industry will be made aware of the good work that RCMA does in South Florida.

It's not too late to order your own RCMA holiday cards. Click here to see the brochure.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Papaya seed salad dressing

What to do with all those papaya seeds, here's a salad dressing recipe from eatthis.com.

Papaya Seed Salad Dressing Recipe


  • 1/4 cup fresh papaya seeds
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 c. yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground, dry mustard
  • 1/4 cup sugarsalt to taste


  • Put mustard, sugar, salt, and vinegar and blend until mixed.
  • Add olive oil and blend.
  • Add papaya seeds and onion and blend.

Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. It will keep up to two weeks in the fridge.

"Papaya" not selling hot dogs as expected

The great NYC papaya purge of fast food restaurants with papaya in their name but not on their menu is occurring with Clinton Papaya, Papaya del Barrio, and Papaya Dog closing their doors. Papaya King and others with the "papaya" name still report good sales.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Prostate health and papayas

Excerpts from an article posted 11/23/09 on herbalpills.com by Kyle J. Norton

These foods help prevent enlarged prostate, prostate cancer and other forms of cancer and heart diseases:

  • Papayas are rich in antioxidants, vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin A, carotenoids and flavonoids that have cardio protective and anti-cancer effects.
  • Tomatoes
  • Soy beans and legumes
  • Grapefruit
  • Beans
  • Green tea
  • Broccoli
  • Cold water fish

Would you change your diet for good sex?

Excerpts from the 11/23/90 Tucson Sun article by Exercise physiologist Karen Nelson.

Here's inspiration to eat better and another reason to eat papaya.

Actually eating any food that is high in Vitamin C which will increase oxytocin in the blood. Oxytocin has been called the “cuddle” hormone. Papayas are a great source of Vitamin C along with broccoli, oranges, peppers, strawberries, kiwifruit, cantaloupe, cauliflower and kale.

Good sex is all about good hormone levels and good circulation. Foods that help keep the heart healthy are going to be good for circulation in the body and improve your sex life. Any foods that help balance your body’s sex hormones in a healthy and appropriate way will also improve your sex life.

Nine other foods that are not only good for you but can actually improve your sex life are:
  • Oatmeal

  • Strawberries

  • Honey

  • Walnuts

  • Ginger

  • Garlic

  • Fish

  • Chocolate

  • Alcohol

Friday, November 20, 2009

Papaya and starfruit jewelry

Why stop at eating papaya and starfruit, when the fruit makes for eye catching jewelry. Those are real slices of starfruit on the bracelet and those round disks on the earrings are papayas (beets on the larger disks).

Thanks to Nakita for these finds.

Sales office celebrates Thanksgiving

A big thank you to Patty and Angela for spearheading this year's Thanksgiving lunch for the sales office.

Everyone enjoyed the feast. We have a lot to be thankful for.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Green coconut cake

When one of our customers - Stephanie B. from North Carolina- said she uses our Groovy Coconuts for her Green Coconut Cake, I had to have the recipe.

Green Coconut Cake
- yellow cake mix (plus the ingredients required as per mix)
3 Groovy Coconuts
- sugar or splenda (optional)

7 minute icing
- 2 egg whites unbeaten
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 tspn light corn syrup
1 tspn vanilla
- miniature marshmallows (optional)

  1. Bake cake as per box directions using 2 nine inch pans. Set aside to cool.
  2. Drain milk out of the coconuts, take bark off coconut, sweeten milk if needed, set aside.
  3. Grate coconut, sweeten if needed,(can use white sugar or splenda) set aside.
  4. Make the icing (see directions below)
  5. Place first cake layer on a platter, using a fork poke holes in the top, spoon coconut milk over cake, spread icing, cover with grated coconut,
  6. Put the second layer on top, poke holes in it then spoon coconut milk over it and spread more icing then put more grated coconut on it.
  7. Ice the cake's sides and add grated coconut.

Seven minute icing

  1. Combining egg whites, sugar, salt, water and corn syrup in top of double boiler, mixing thoroughly,
  2. Place over rapidly boiling water, beat constantly with egg beater and cook seven minutes of until frosting will stand up in peaks. Remove from heat.
  3. Add vanilla and beat until thick enough to spread.(If doesn't thicken throw in a hand full of miniature marshmallows.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Study finds new phytonutrients in avocados

Excerpts from an article in the 11/10/09 The Packer By Andy Nelson

A new study has found additional disease-fighting chemicals in avocados.
In research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, scientists at the University of California-Los Angeles identified four additional carotenoids in avocados.

Carotenoids are phytonutrients, chemical compounds that are thought to help prevent many chronic diseases.

The UCLA researchers found them in the dark green fresh of the avocado closest to the peel.

Tests for the study, which was funded by the commission, were conducted on fruit grown in California.

5 Super Foods for Women: papaya makes the list

In a Reader's Digest article by Maureen Callahan, Papaya was number one in the super food list.

With papaya packing about twice the vitamin C of an orange. The author suggests adding it to your arsenal against gallbladder disease.

Ten ounces of papaya has 188 mg of vitamin C with a mere 119 calories.

Also making the list were flaxseed, tofu, collard greens, and buffalo meat.

Starfruit stars in kids' cookbook

Cookbooks for kids have come along way from last century's Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook for Children.

In the kids' cookbook,
Friday Night Bites: Kick Off the Weekend with Recipes and Crafts for the Whole Family by Karen Berman (Running Press, 2009), you cook dinner and do a craft activity at the same time.

One dinner theme is Dinner on the Moon, in which participants create a centerpiece that shows the phases of the moon, and include "distant star salad" (made with starfruit). Recipes come with a short astronomy lesson.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Apparently 'Papaya' sells hot dogs

I heard about Gray's Papaya which is a fast food restaurant specializing in hot dogs. The chain was founded by a former partner of another fast food chain, Papaya King. I ran into the two's competitor Papaya Dog during a recent visit to NYC. All three chains have been featured in movies and tv shows.
Unfortunately, papayas are not on the menu.

Monday, November 2, 2009

White House Halloween

Trick or Treaters knocking at the White House door received packets of dried fruit containing cherries, apricots, pears, apples and papaya.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Redland Raised" program found in Publix


Redland Raised is an instore program that promotes the consumption of fresh local produce. Publix will be the first to grocery store to kick-off the program.

The program's announcement took place at the Publix located at 7805 SW 40th Street, on Thursday, October 29, 2009. Local celebrities included Mayor Carlos Avarez. Locally grown produce including green beans, yellow squash, zucchini, boniato, okra and avocados were on display.

Redland Raised was created by Miami-Dade County and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

“Pairing Publix with our locally-grown produce makes great sense,” said Mayor Carlos Alvarez. “We can educate and encourage our residents to invest in local produce and in turn, stimulate the economy in our County.”

“While we have always been committed to supporting fresh locally grown produce when available, we are excited to help introduce this new produce brand which will allow us to better inform our customers on the benefits of buying local,” said Kim Jaeger, Media and Community Relations Manager for Publix in Miami.

Miami-Dade County’s agriculture industry is number two in the state and 18th in the country, generating an estimated $2.7 billion for the local economy.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Papaya said to fight the flu

Daily Spark article by Tanya Jolliffe

In a Daily Spark article by Tanya Jolliffe, she suggests there are specific foods that help get you back on your feet after a cold and flu. Here's the excerpt about papayas.

Christopher Columbus called
papaya the "fruit of the angels" because he found the great benefit of this special fruit especially during the winter. Rich in vitamins C, A, K, and E as well as magnesium, folate, beta-carotene and lutein, papaya has been found to help inactivate a variety of viruses so the body can flush them away.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Back from PMA Fresh Summit 2009

We're back from California. The show provided insight and potential business. Next year, Orlando.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Popularity of papayas catching up to mangoes

Excerpts from an article in the 9/7/09 The Packer by Abraham Mahsie

This fall, tropical suppliers are betting papayas will garner some of the same interest and popularity that mangoes have.

Increased volumes of two varieties...offer great taste and nutritional value to households where papayas are fast gaining recognition.

"More than taste, you are covering different demands in terms of convenience, " said Jose Rossignoli, vice president of sales and marketing for Brooks Tropicals, LLC.

"That applies to the Hawaiian or sunrise papayas and the Caribbean Red or maridol papaya," he said.

"When you are selling a large papaya, you are probably selling a piece of fruit that is going to average 3-4 pounds. When you are selling a sunrise papaya, you are selling a fruit that is just one pound. Cut it in half, remove the seeds, and eat it from the skin."

Rossignoli said although fall tends to have less demand for papayas than the spring, he still expects stable availability based on planting schedules and crop outlooks.

He said most of Brooks' customers carry both varieties, giving both a per pound and per fruit pricing option. The smaller fruit is good for individual consumption, while the larger is good for a household of three people or more.

In terms of taste, he said the sunrise is a little bit sweeter than the Caribbean Red.

"We have new fields in production, and quality definitely looks great on the Caribbean Red papayas," he said. "The rest of the year is expected to have continued availability."

Rossignoli said the advantages of Brooks' papayas are a sweeter taste and mainstream appeal.

"I can tell you that our variety has a more gourmet taste. It doesn't have the strong smell and aftertaste that a typical maridol papaya would have," he said. "It's not just a product for the Hispanic consumer, as papayas were perceived in the past."

A strong customer base in Canada evidences their mainstream appeal according to Rossignoli. Other draws are better shelf life, attractiveness to retailers, and uniformity in shape and size.

Rossignoli said Brooks is back to pre-Hurricane Dean product levels in terms of planting capacity, weekly production and harvesting. He also said starting over after the devastation allowed workers to retool and the company to improve production processes for greater efficiency.

"Things are better. The hurricane gave us the opportunity to assess during the non harvesting time, to assess the strength and weakness of the operation and also the opportunity we had to improve," he said.

"Those improvements included stronger infrastructure and new facilities in the Belize operation, superior management and refined growing techniques."

"We also upgraded the packing facility in charge of packing and shipping the papayas to the U.S.," he said. "When you are willing to keep your staff through the hard season, you find new skills. During that recovery process everybody was helping in everything. You see skills in middle and upper level management to improve the operation overall."

Friday, September 4, 2009

Baby shower for Brittany

Yesterday the Homestead crowd had a baby shower for Brittany Morrow, Human Resources. Brittany is expecting a boy in two months.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Fruit and Spice Park opens the Mango Cafe

Our friends over at the Fruit & Spice Park proudly announces the opening of the MANGO CAFÉ

Hours of operation: 11:30 am to 4:30 pm
Open 7 days a week except Christmas Day.

Café specialties include: Florida Lobster Roll, Shrimp Tacos, Grilled Chicken & Bacon Quesadillas, Cuban Sandwich Panini Style, BBQ Pulled Pork. Assorted wraps, sandwiches, specialty Pizza’s, unique desserts and beverages.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

10 Mayan foods that changed the world's eating habits

Excerpts from an 8/27/09 article in the Alanet News by Christine Delsol

Nobody gives the Maya is credit for their agricultural wizardry. When the Spanish carried Mayan food back to Europe and to the Caribbean, Asia and Africa, it changed the world’s eating habits. Here are ten Mayan foods it would be hard to live without:

1. Avocado (aguacate)
From its Mayan origins in southern Mexico, it was prized as an aphrodisiac ( later the Aztecs would keep their daughters indoors during harvest season). In the 19th century, growers had to mount a PR campaign to persuade the public that eating avocados did not equate to licentiousness.

2. Papaya
The papaya originated in the tropics of southern Mexico and Central America. After the Spanish carried seeds to Panama and the Dominican Republic, cultivation spread throughout South and Central America, the Caribbean, Europe, the Pacific Islands, India and parts of Africa. It has became naturalized in many areas and still grows wild along Mexican roadsides.

3. Squash (calabaza, calabacita)
Squash predates corn and beans by several thousand years; Maya people domesticated several varieties of squash as early as 8000 B.C. Oils from these seeds were the main source of dietary fat before the Spanish introduced beef and pork.

Others Mayan additions to our eating include:

4. Chocolate
5. Vanilla

6. Corn
7. Chiles
8. Tomatoes
9. Black beans

10. Sweet potato

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fruit: The secret weapon in parents' nutritional arsenal

Excerpts from an article by ARA in the Creston Iowa News

Parents, let's face it -- the average child will never really fall in love with Brussels sprouts, broccoli or cauliflower. But few kids object to fruit, making it easier to help children tap into its wealth of health benefits.

Fruit fights childhood obesity, according to studies by Tufts and Baylor universities that linked high fruit and vegetable consumption by children with a lower body mass index.

Fruit is naturally low in calories but high in nutrients like immune system boosting vitamin C, water and fiber, which helps children feel fuller and more energized with fewer calories. Federal dietary guidelines recommend five servings of fruit per day.

Here are two tips to help keep fruit exciting and easy for you and your children:

  1. Variety really can be the spice of life when it comes to fruit. Supermarkets now regularly offer exotic fruits that were once only found in top restaurants or specialty shops. So on your next supermarket excursion, allow your child to explore the more unusual fruits and choose one or two to try. You may find they adore star fruit and kumquats as much as apples and bananas.
  2. What child doesn't like a smoothie, especially in summer? While you're whipping up a fruit smoothie for your little one, take the opportunity to slip some other nutritious ingredients into the blender, like raw greens (kids think green smoothies are fun), low-fat yogurt for protein and calcium or flaxseed for fiber.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Q&A with Jose Rossignoli

Article in the 8/17/09 The Packer / Fall Avocado Marketing Section by Jim Offner.

Jose Rossignoli is vice president of sales and marketing for Brooks Tropicals, LLC., Homestead, Fla. In his position, he leads Brooks Tropicals' sales efforts, building sale programs with retailers and wholesalers in delivering SlimCado avocados, Caribbean Red and Caribbean Sunrise papayas to the North American market.

Rossignoli recently served as director, then vice president of national sales for the firm. After graduating with a master of agribusiness from the University of Florida, Rossignoli started at Brooks Tropicals, assisting Pal Brooks on various projects.

Rossignoli and his wife, Kelly, live in Miramar, Fla.

Q: How important are avocados in the Brooks portfolio compared to recent years, given the increase in popularity of the fruit?

A: Brooks Tropicals started over 80 years ago with Florida avocados. Although, nowadays our Caribbean Red and Caribbean sunrise papayas have risen to the top of our portfolio's forefront, green-skinned Florida avocados remain as our second core commodity and will always be a top priority for us.

Q: What's the best way to market the nutritional value of avocados? How can Brooks Tropicals stand out in this area?

A: In the past year, avocados have made great nutritional strides with experts highlighting the fact that avocados have "good" fat, or monounsaturated fat. SlimCado avocados benefit even more because good fat is still best eaten in moderation (70 calories a day). With SlimCado avocados 70 calories doubles the amount of avocado that can be enjoyed.

Q: Green-skinned avocados have, frankly, fallen behind the hass variety in many regions. How can they make up ground?

A: We're different. Florida green-skinned avocados are a specialty item with great market recognition and demand. We don't compete with the hass variety but complement the grocer's avocado offerings with a lower-fat, lower-calorie avocado that appeals way beyond Hispanic markets to the health conscious, calorie-counting consumer.

Q: Are there any new marketing venues out there for avocados, in terms of educating consumers about the product, highlighting the product's quality and building consumers' desire to buy it regularly?

A: I think the Internet and specifically social media have opened the gates of publicity on a far more personal level. Recipes on blogs, photos on Flickr - we've even answered questions Twittered from grocery stores about SlimCado. Mass media continues to provide additional recognition - it's always exciting to have your brand mentioned during prime time show as it occurred in ABC's Brothers and Sisters.

Q: How are you best-suited to market avocados? What are your personal strengths that you bring to this job?

A: Brooks Tropicals has two main sets of competitive advantages when it comes to avocados. First, our vertically integrated program, from planting to shipping, ensures a high-quality product. And second, Brooks maintains over half of the retail market share, which gives an advantage in regards to advance planning and merchandising.

When I first joined Brooks, my functions were operations-focused - among them, the analysis and forecasting of production and harvesting. This analytical background serves me well in working with my customers to build customized retail programs to meet their needs.

Q: There's certainly a business dynamic between Florida avocado producers and their colleagues in California, Mexico and Chile. How would you describe it? Are they rivals? Colleagues? How well do they work together for the betterment of the entire avocado category? Or is that not a priority?

A: Certainly, there can be cross-elasticity in certain markets, but generally speaking we don't compete, we complement. Consumers are eating more avocados and expanding what dishes they use them in. It's great to give the consumer a choice, choosing perhaps hass for a party dip and SlimCados to slice up in a salad.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Papaya seed 'caviar'

Think of how many papaya seeds you've thrown out. Turns out you're throwing out 'caviar'.

Kudos to Julie at Julie's Raw Ambition for the recipe, photo, and for creating the longest name for an appetizer 'papaya caviar coconut creme fraiche on cucumber blinis'.

Kidding aside, her blog post has some interesting information on papaya seeds along with the recipe.

Imported produce - consumption has doubled

Although this should come as no surprise to us, I thought the numbers were interesting. Excerpts from an article on Care2.com written by Melissa Breyer.

Americans are consuming more imported fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen and canned produce, and fruit juice. Over the past 15 years Americans’ consumption of imported fresh fruits and vegetables has doubled.

Food & Water Watch studied fifty common fruit and vegetable products and found that:

  • In 1993, imports made up one out of ten fresh fruits and one out of nine fresh vegetables Americans ate. In 2007 the import consumption share doubled to more than one out of five fresh fruits and fresh vegetables.
  • On average, each American consumed 20 pounds of imported fresh fruit, 31 pounds of imported fresh vegetables and 24 pounds of imported processed produce and drank three gallons of imported juice in 2007.

Another post about Fruta Bomba tea

Teavana®, the manufacturer of Fruta Bomba tea, has announced the winners of their "Tea Master's Challenge" contest.

This tea blending contest challenged Teavana customers "to use creativity and their love of tea to make a new taste sensation using from up to 4 Teavana teas, sugar or honey." There were six winners from over 2,300 submissions.

Obama Bahama by James Defilippis was one of the winners. The tea is a blend of Fruta Bomba, Imperial Açaí Blueberry, Strawberry Kiwi, and Caribbean Breeze teas. The tea is described as a combination of green, white and herbal teas that is rich in antioxidants & vitamin C and is reputed to help ease the signs of aging and regulate blood sugar levels. With the flavors of the tropics - this tea is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Post from the blogsphere

It's not so common to see a personal blog talk about the Caribbean Red papaya. Other than the blogger incorrectly assuming that Caribbean Red papayas are Mexican papayas, the blog post is interesting and quite factual with a number of followers. I'm posting just the first couple of paragraphs, I suggest reading the comments to the blog post. The comments are from consumers who have tried papayas or are thinking of trying papayas. The blogger is from Salt Lake City, Utah.

Papayas 101
Published August 18, 2009 by cheryl
You put the lime in the papaya and drink ‘em both up…*

One of our big delights in summer and fall are the huge “Caribbean Red” or “Mexican” papayas. We usually buy them at Costco, but you’ll sometimes find them in the grocery stores as well.
Most people, if they’re familiar with papayas at all, are more familiar with the smaller Hawaiian papayas that are a little bigger than a pear. This variety is much larger – this one’s about 10″ long:

I’ve found that most people I’ve talked to have rarely, if ever, had papaya. And even those that have, don’t really know much about them or how to know when they’re ready to eat. They’re truly missing out on the fruit that Christopher Columbus supposedly called “the fruit of the angels”. So let’s have a quick lesson in papayas, OK?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Healthy benefits - papaya, starfruit, Uniq Fruit and guava

Excerpts from an article called Unique Choices for Fruitful Diet on Natural Home Remedies.com.

Papaya – Regular consumption of papaya endows with liberal discharge of papain enzyme in body. Papain enzymes are acknowledged as one of the most efficient enzymes that are capable to break proteins and natural source to enhance immune system which further helps in reduced chances of inflammatory diseases.

An increased intake of papaya assists in coping with deficiencies of potassium, folate and vitamin C. it is also a very popular food among diet conscious people owing to the petite quantity of calorie present i.e. half papaya comprises only fifty nine calories.

Star Fruit – Daily consumption of this Asian fruit helps in prevention from development of cardiac ailments. Since ages, star fruit had been used to reduce inflammations of cardiovascular system owing to ample quantities of polypheonols antioxidant obtained through consumption. A person experiencing
deficiency of vitamin A, dietary fiber or potassium should increasingly consume star fruit several times during a day. Like papaya, star fruit also contains petite quantity of calories.

Uniq Fruit – The usage of ugli fruit is very popular in Jamaican
home remedies for common cold and flu. Consuming this fruit at least three times a day helps to boost immune system and discharges liberal quantities of vitamin C and carotenoids in body. The calorie content of this fruit is only forty five. It is recommended for persons experiencing frequent attacks of cold or nasal congestion to eat ugli fruit regularly for at least one month for permanent relief.

Guava – Guava is a seasonal fruit. Inclusion of guava in an all-fruit diet extraordinarily
strengthens the immune system and fulfills almost seventy percent of body’s daily vitamin C and requirement. An increased intake of guava fruit also helps in confining the production of LDL cholesterol and free radicals in body. Individuals with impaired or blurred vision should also consume guava fruit to defuse free radicals present in retinal portion of eye

Friday, August 14, 2009

Making more than guac from avocados

Excerpts from an Associated Press article by Michele Kayal posted 8/13/09

Avocado Fries are warm, tasty and a more unusual use for your avocados ready for eating. Recipe to follow.

And while nearly 500 varieties of avocados are grown around the world, Americans tend to favor just a few, mostly Hass or Hass-like varieties.

But if you grew up in a tropical climate, you might prefer what are called "green-skinned" avocados, varieties such as Simmonds or Monroe or any of the dozens of other varieties coming from Florida.

These avocados have a smooth skin that remains green when ripe, and they can weigh up to 3 pounds. Green-skinned avocados also have less fat and more moisture than Hass, giving them a milder flavor and a lighter, less unctuous texture.

These qualities make them well suited to sweet preparations, such as the ice cream favored by Brazilians or milk shakes enjoyed in the Philippines.

"Hispanics love to chop them into cubes and put them on top of a creamy tomato soup or squash soup," says Mary Ostlund, marketing director for Brooks Tropicals, a grower and the largest shipper of Florida avocados.

The company promotes its avocados as "SlimCados," a "lite" fruit, with fewer calories and less fat than avocados from California.

To tell when avocados are ripe, give them a little squeeze. They should yield to slight pressure, but not be mushy. Unripe avocados should be stored at room temperature, then moved to the refrigerator when ripe. They will keep there for two to three days.

And while you can spend $10 on an avocado slicer, it's just as easy to run a knife around the fruit lengthwise, then twist it slightly to separate the halves. Remove the pit with a spoon.

Pureed avocados hold up well in the freezer. The California Avocado Commission recommends adding a tablespoon of lemon juice for each two pureed avocados.


Canola oil, for frying
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups panko (Japanese-style) breadcrumbs
2 firm-ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges

Heat the oven to 200 degrees.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high, heat 1 1/2 inches of oil until it reaches 375 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer.

Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl whisk together the flour and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Place the eggs in a second shallow bowl, and the panko in a third.

One wedge at a time, dredge the avocados through the flour, shaking off any excess, then through the egg and finally through the panko. Set the wedges aside in a single layer.

A quarter of the avocado wedges at a time, fry until deep golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer the wedges to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Transfer the drained fries to an oven-safe plate and keep warm in the oven while cooking the remaining wedges. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Serves 6.

---- Recipe from the April 2009 issue of Sunset magazine

Avocado prices appear immune to recession

Excerpts from The Packer's special section: Fall Avocado Marketing
Published on 08/13/2009 By
Jim Offner
The recession may have cut into restaurant receipts, automobile purchases and that new home, but it hasn’t affected avocado sales, marketers said.

“For awhile, there was a false idea that fresh fruits and vegetables might be more expensive, but I think people came to realize just the opposite,” said Mary Ostlund, marketing director for Homestead, Fla.-based Brooks Tropicals Inc.

“Fresh fruits and vegetables provide more nutrition, dollar for dollar, than any other item in the grocery store.”

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Benefits from eating fruits and vegetables outweigh any risks of pesticides

Excerpt from a SunSentinel article of 8/13/09.

Which is worse: eating nonorganic produce full of pesticides or not eating produce at all?

Research demonstrates substantial health benefits from eating fruits and vegetables. Although I wish we had more definitive research, these benefits appear to greatly outweigh any risks of pesticides.

If you want to compromise, you can save your organic dollars for the foods most likely to be high in pesticides. These, according to the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org), are peaches, nectarines, apples, bell peppers, strawberries, cherries, pears, raspberries, imported grapes, celery, potatoes and spinach.In contrast, foods that you peel — onions, peas, bananas, sweet corn and tropical fruits, for example — tend to be low in pesticides.

Rationalizing to eat more

When I get asked why we promote the SlimCado as having less fat when 'everyone knows avocados have the good fat,' I point to an earlier blog entry that has doctors recommending only 70 calories a day of good fat. Then I add, with SlimCados you can eat a lot more avocado for 70 calories.

Despite the logic, I get the vibe that I'm not fully answering the question. So there's more to why we Americans cheerfully down vats of guacamole without a care. It's why this article by by Brett Blumenthal helps fill the void where my answer seems to stop short.

We often eat foods that are determined to have ‘health benefits’ past moderation, in turn, making them ‘not so healthy.’ Take dark chocolate for instance. It has become pretty well know that dark chocolate contains antioxidants which are great for warding off ‘free-radicals’. I imagine that for a lot of people, the logic then goes something like this: “Great! So this must mean I should eat dark chocolate often and in large quantities to ensure that I stay young and beautiful.” In reality, if we all did this, we would have even a larger obesity epidemic on our hands than we already do. The truth is that we should indulge in these foods, but still maintain ‘in moderation’ as our standard for portions and frequency.

Look, a
fat is a fat. It doesn’t matter if it is a ‘good fat’ or a ‘bad fat’, it is still a fat. And, a healthy diet should only incorporate 20% – 30% of fat, whether good or bad. Granted, when you are eating fats, eating those that are ‘good’ is by far more healthy than eating those that are ‘bad.’ You should avoid those that are ‘bad.’ But just because it is good doesn’t mean that you should look at them as a staple of your diet.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Florida avocado deal down more than a third

Excerpts from a 8/10/09 article by Doug Ohlemeier

Lower volume and higher prices characterize this year's Florida avocado deal, but shippers said they expect to meet regular customer demand for the fruit.

"The cut in volume follows freezing temperatures in January, spring drought conditions and an alternate-bearing smaller crop year following large crop production during the 2007 and 2008 seasons," said Jose Rossignoli, vice president of sales and marketing for Brooks Tropicals, LLC, Homestead, Florida.

"Despite the smaller volume," Rossignoli said "Brooks expects to have no problems supplying customers with fruit and that buyers shouldn't expect any shortages."

"We expect to have a normal supply of avocados throughout the rest of the season," he said Aug. 4. "Though we expect our crop to be a little shorter than last year's , there will still be adequate overall volume for weekly business and promotions."

Rossignoli said, "Brooks expects to do well with the lower volume."

Brooks expects to ship a little less than 500,000 55-pound bushels, which in a typical year is about half the industry's volume.

"With the volume decline, however," Rossignoli said, "the industry could be shipping 800,000-900,000 bushels this year."

Fruta Bomba tea

Teavana, a chain of stores that sells tea, sells a tea called Fruta Bomba.

A melange of green tea and South African Rooibos in combination with ripe papaya and peach pieces. Together they create an explosion of flavor, aroma and health benefits. This is a delicious green tea and perfect for those who have not tried green tea before.

It sells for $6.80 for 2 oz.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Killer avocado disease discovered in Florida

Excerpts from an article published on 07/30/2009 by Doug Ohlemeier

Scientists have found a south Florida commercial avocado tree infected with a disease known to kill avocado trees.This is the first case of the laurel wilt fungus discovered inside south Florida’s avocado growing region.

The laurel wilt disease — spread by the red bay ambrosia beetle — threatens Florida's avocado trees. Officials confirmed a positive discovery of the red bay ambrosia beetle in the northern part of the growing area in a southern Miami-Dade County grove on July 28.

The tiny beetle spreads the disease, which can destroy half the state’s avocado crop.
Previously, the it had been detected in Okeechobee and Martin counties, north and west of Palm Beach County.

“We are a little surprised that it has appeared to leap this far south,” said Jonathan Crane, a tropicals fruit crops extension research specialist with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, Fla.

“Our researchers here are in hyperdrive and are working closely with industry, scientists and others to try to get a handle on this as quickly as possible,” Crane said.

Researchers are collecting samples from other groves and are awaiting for the beetles to emerge from the positive find, Crane said.

Craig Wheeling, chief executive officer of Homestead-based Brooks Tropicals Inc., said he’s encouraged by the $2.5 million in state and federal research funding the industry has been able to secure less than two years after the disease was first detected in the Carolinas.

“We as an industry have really stepped up the efforts,” he said. “There’s a lot of work to be done now. We don’t know much about the life cycle of the bug.”

Leaders of the Miami-Dade Co. Farm Bureau and Extension service scheduled an Aug. 5 emergency meeting where researchers and others plan to recommend control steps to growers, handlers, packers and shippers.

More information on the disease can be found at the
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Web site.With 7,500 acres, Florida’s $30 million crop represents the country’s second-largest avocado-producing state.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Florida firms focus on nutrition benefits of state's avocados

Excerpts from an article published on 7/27/09 by Amy Fischback

Some consumers have shied away from avocados because of the fruit's perceived fat content, but some Florida specialty growers are working to change that misconception.

With researchers finding that avocados have monounsaturated, or "good," fat, avocados can actually raise levels of "good" cholesterol and protect arteries.

Brooks Tropicals, Homestead, Fla., is also working to promote the nutrition of avocados by labeling them as "SlimCados," said Bill Brindle, vice president of sales.

"Being able to label Florida avocados as SlimCados helps stores position this avocado in the produce aisle," he said. "In an instant, the SlimCado brand tells the customer that this avocado is a healthy choice."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Publix ad features Brooks' logo and, of course, our fruit

As you shop Publix Supermarkets this week, check out the store's weekly flyer. Brooks Tropicals' Caribbean Red papayas and SlimCado avocados are featured. I should add that our logo is featured also.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Is Eating Starfruit Dangerous?

A few blog posts claimed that starfruit could be dangerous for people with kidney problems. Rumor or fact? I finally got an expert's answer, Dr Andrew Weil, MD. These are excerpts from an article published 7/21/2009 written by him.

If you have no kidney problems, you can eat all the star fruit you want - it has no effect on healthy kidneys.

But if your kidney function is impaired, eating star fruit can be very dangerous, even deadly. Symptoms of "star fruit intoxication" include persistent hiccups, nausea, vomiting, agitation, insomnia, mental confusion and convulsions that occur within one to five hours of eating the fruit.

The problem seems to be the high levels of oxalic acid (or oxalate) in this fruit that can accumulate in weakened kidneys. But since kidney patients don't seem to have problems eating other oxalate-rich foods (such as spinach), Brazilian researchers who have been studying the reaction suggest that another, unidentified substance toxic to nerves is the real culprit. Whatever this toxin may be, people with healthy kidneys have no problem excreting it while those with impaired kidney function run into trouble with the combination of the unknown toxin and oxalate.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Avocados: unsung superfoods

Excerpt from a Chicago Tribune article written by Julie Deardorff.

Avocados have good, unsatiurated fats which help with growth and development of the central nervous system and the brain. they're packed with nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.

Avocados play well with others: when you eat an avocado, it helps the body absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha- and beta-carotene, as well as lutein, from other foods.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Combining avocado and tomato: making super fruit even better

Excerpt from a 7/12/09 examiner.com article by Timothy Jackson

DO mix avocado and tomato: Tomatoes, which contain the antioxidant lycopene, are a superfood. If you eat some avocado at the same time, you've just made it even more super. The fat in the avocado helps the body absorb seven times more lycopene.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Limes can be substituted for lemon, with few exceptions

Excerpts from a Miami Herald article by Kathleen Purvis

Lime and lemons can be used interchangeably in recipes. Besides a slightly different taste, there are few instances where it will matter. Limes are a bit more floral, even if the lemon juice is acting as a thickener, such as in a lemon curd or lemon pie, the lime juice should still have enough acidity to do the job.

One instance in which you cannot swap is when you are canning tomatoes in a boiling-water canner. Recipes for canning tomatoes call for commercial, not fresh, lemon juice because the percentage of acidity in fresh fruit can vary widely, from 2.5 percent to 4.5 percent. (It depends on how old the fruit is, the season when it was picked and even how rainy it was.)

You need a dependable level of acidity to make tomatoes safe for canning, so you should always use bottled lemon juice if the recipe calls for it. And you certainly shouldn't swap in lime juice.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Papaya

    Excerpts from an article from Fruits and Vegetables Matter More.

  1. A Tangy Appetizer. Serve papaya strips with thin slices of prosciutto as an appetizer. Drizzle lightly with lime juice.

  2. Picnic with Papaya! Serve this delicious Avocado Papaya Grapefruit salad at your first spring picnic.

  3. The Perfect Mobile Snack. Try dried papaya for a sweet treat, or add chopped dried papaya to rice pilaf.

  4. Do Papaya Popsicles. Freeze spears of papaya on a stick for a summertime treat.

  5. A Unique Dessert. Bake an unripe [mature] papaya. Cut papaya into quarters and remove seeds. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Put a little bit of water in a baking pan and add papaya. Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes. Serve hot.

  6. Grill ‘em! Cut in half, scoop out seeds, and grill until grill marks appear.

  7. Papaya Salsa? Absolutely. Try our Papaya and Black Bean Salsa with chicken or fish, or dip some chips!

  8. Sweet Salad. Add papaya chunks to chicken, tuna or shrimp salad.

  9. Smoothies. Add with strawberries and bananas to a smoothie.

  10. Get Exotic! Add an exotic twist to your fruit salad with papaya.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Brooks Tropicals' avocados handsomely displayed

Food Safety Audit Certificates

Food safety audit certificates for Belize and Homestead, now available.

In the avocado groves

I've been waiting for the clouds to clear to take some shots of the avocado harvest. The other day I finally got some blue sky.