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So You Think You Know Hispanic Produce?

Take our quiz to find out!

Grown throughout the world, it is not a popular export due to rapid oxidation after harvest. It must also be cooked before eating due to natural toxins. If processed or frozen, yuca can last months. It’s especially popular in Cuba and in parts of South America, where it is cooked with olive oil, boiled with garlic mojo, and in stews. Recently, U.S. restaurants have been reinventing this tough root by turning it into French fries.

The majority of Chile’s table grape production is located in the southernmost tip of the country.
False – Most of Chile’s grape production is just above its midsection regions, including Libertador General Bernardo O’Higgins, Valparaíso, Coquimbo, and north to Atacama. As the world’s largest exporter of fresh grapes, Chile grows more than three dozen varieties, although Thompson Seedless and Flame Seedless represent the lion’s share of exports.

About 47 percent of Chilean grapes are shipped to the United States, 23 percent to European markets, 20 percent to the Far East, and 10 percent to rest of Latin America. During the 2012-13 season, Chile exported 846,000 metric tons of grapes to the world, a 4 percent increase over the previous year. Despite its number-one spot, Chile is facing increasing competition from South Africa, Peru, and even California growers, who have added more late-season varieties to their plantings.

Mamey sapote is grown in several locales in California.
False – A native of Central America, mamey (mah-may) sapote, or pouteria sapota, is grown in Mexico, several Central American countries, and the Caribbean. It has also been grown in southern Florida since the late 1800s. Despite its rough brown skin, the ripe orange-red flesh is sweet and unique, a mix of pumpkin and sweet potato with cherry and almond undertones.

Much sought after, especially by Cubans who use it to make mamey ice cream and batidos (milkshakes), the mamey is nevertheless hard to find and buy. Why? It takes nearly two years from flower to fruit for the mamey to be ready for harvest. Even so, many think it’s a fruit worth waiting for.

Pass or Fail?
So how did you do? Any way you slice it, Hispanic produce is not only on the rise, but here to stay as shoppers of all ethnicities buy and experiment with fruit and vegetable dishes. In the years to come, previously ‘new’ or ‘exotic’ foods will become mainstream—but still delicious.

Chris Puentes, president of Orange, CA-based Interfresh, Inc. believes avocados, for one, will continue to grow in market share. “We see a continued increase in supply, as Mexico continues to ship here, and Peru and other countries start sending fruit to the United States as well. We see an unusually bright future in avocados as demand and volumes continue to soar.”

Image: Shutterstock

Cristina Adams is a freelance business writer and editor with more than eighteen years of experience. She writes for a number of business publications and websites.