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So You Think You Know Hispanic Produce?

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Formerly famous for once-a-year Super Bowl guacamole or as an accompaniment to tortilla chips, avocados (once known as the ‘alligator pear’) have exploded in popularity over the past five years to become a mainstream staple.

A prime example is inclusion on sandwich chain Subway’s summer menu. Though often maligned in the past for its fat content, the avocado is now touted for its heart-healthy properties, making it a go-to item for shoppers of all ages and ethnicities. Californians have long enjoyed the particular joys of avocados, and the rest of the world has finally caught on. Though many grower-shippers have feared market saturation, consumers simply cannot get enough avocados.

Tracey Altman, vice president of marketing at Saginaw, TX-based Fresherized Foods, whose Wholly Guacamole and Wholly Salsa brands are sold at retailers nationwide, sees big growth in demand beginning in the southern U.S. and increasingly heading northward. She believes year-round availability, changing demographics, and social and mainstream media have helped contribute to the avocado’s current rock-star status. “You have empty-nesters with additional income, and they’re being more health-conscious; you also have Millennials looking for products and snacks with clean labels,” she says. “Millennials also trend toward spicy and ethnic food, which drives new flavor profiles. Both of these areas of our business are growing.”


• The state of Michoacán is Mexico’s top avocado-producing region.

• Tomatillos are a smaller version of red, round tomatoes.

• A traditional “comfort food” in Puerto Rican culture is pastelón, similar to lasagna.

• Mexico is the world’s second-largest exporter of mangos.

• Malanga is a part of Caribbean diets and similar to a honeydew melon.

• Toronto, Ontario, has the highest Hispanic population in Canada.

• Sweet potatoes, yams, and boniatos are different names for the same vegetable.

• Jícama is often blended into ice cream, ices, or other desserts.

 • Native to Southeast Asia, carambola or starfruit is now cultivated in Mexico.


• Charlotte, North Carolina is home to the fastest-growing Hispanic population in the United States.

• Much of Mexico’s dragon fruit, or pitaya, is grown in Tehuacán, Puebla.

 • Most habanero peppers are grown In the Mexican states of Yucatán, Campeche, or Quintana Roo.

 • Unlike other root vegetables, yuca or cassava can spoil rapidly. 

 • The majority of Chile’s table grape production is located in the southernmost tip of the country.

  • Mamey sapote is grown in several locales in California.