Guava Market Summary
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Guava Market OverviewPsidium guajava, often called “tropical guava” or simply “guava,” is a member of the Myrtle family along with feijoa, jaboticaba, Malay apple, and camu camu. It has been an immensely popular fruit in tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world for centuries and is finally gaining a foothold in other areas, including North America. Though its place of origin is uncertain, scientists believe the fruit came from southern Mexico or Central America, or South America, namely Peru. Spaniard Don Francisco de Paula Marin, who became royal physician and counselor to King Kamehameha, is widely credited with introducing guava to Hawaii in 1791, though scholars believe the fruit was already cultivated on the islands. Guava trees are an important food and wood source, but they have become invasive in Hawaii, overrunning some areas and harming habitats. On the U.S. mainland, guava was brought to Florida’s Miami area from Cuba in the mid-1800s, with the first commercial grove established in the 1910s. The fruit trees have thrived ever since and can now be found throughout southern and central portions of the state, living for up to three or four decades. Portuguese explorers are credited with taking the fruit back to Europe. It eventually made its way to the African continent, where South Africa has become a producer of note. India is far and away the world’s top grower, with Indonesia, China, Mexico, Pakistan, Brazil, and Caribbean countries contributing to supply as well. Although Florida, Hawaii, and California grow guava domestically, most U.S. supply is imported from Mexico or Brazil. Depending on variety, guava flesh is either soft or slightly crunchy when ripe and may be creamy white to dark pink in color. When fully ripe, its thin skin is edible. Most guava is consumed fresh or processed into juice, purees, dried fruit, ice cream, or nutrient powders. Guava is a common ingredient in Indian, Mexican, and Southeast Asian cuisine. Most compare the taste to pineapple, papaya, or bananas, as well as lemons for the more tangy varieties.
Types & Varieties of GuavaNumerous varieties are grown throughout the world, varying in color, flavor, texture, size, and whether or not the fruit has seeds. In some areas, guava trees grow wild, spread by birds. Numerous states in India grow guava, with Maharashtra leading production. With more than two dozen cultivars, some named for their place of origin, Allahabad Safeda, Sardar, and their hybrids continue to dominate production. In South Africa, where orchards were planted in the late 1800s, many guava varieties are named for the growers who originally cultivated them, including Faan Retief, Malberbe, and Rousseau. The pink-fleshed Faan Retief, grown in the Western Cape area, is the most popular and accounts for the vast majority of South Africa’s commercial plantings. Among location-themed monikers are Brazilian/Guinea, China White, Costa Rican, Egyptian Yellow, Giant Vietnamese, Hong Kong Pink, Red Malaysian/Thai Maroon, Sweet White Indonesian, and Taiwan Pink; other colorful varieties include Tropical White and Ruby Supreme. Lemon, Pear, Pineapple (also called feijoa), Pink Acid, and Strawberry and Yellow Strawberry guava varieties are so named due to flavoring. Appearance gave the Yellow Cherry guava its name, due to the fruit’s small size, while apple guavas are known for being seedless. Two of the earliest American-grown guava varieties were the Detwiler and the Redland. The Detwiler originated in Riverside, CA in the early 1900s and was smallish, with greenish-yellow skin, salmon-colored pulp, and a sweet flavor. The Redland, developed in 1941 at the University of Florida in Homestead, was Florida’s ?rst named variety. Unfortunately, it was eventually replaced by other cultivars due to mild ?avoring and susceptibility to algal spotting. Other varieties and hybrids found in the United States and elsewhere include Barbie Pink, Beaumont, Blitch, Chittidar, Crystal, Dhareedar, Hawaiian Red, Hawaiian White, Lalit, Lotus, Mexican Cream (also called Yellow Cream), Mountain, Patillo, Red Indian, Ruby Pink, Ruby X Supreme, Shweta, and Webber.
Cultivation of GuavaWell adapted to subtropical or tropical climes, guava trees thrive in a range of soils. Fruit grows on single or multitrunked trees that can reach up to 20 feet in height. Ideal temperatures range from 73 to 82°F. Temperatures below 60°F may slow growth, and although mature trees can withstand short cold snaps with little damage, young guava trees may be killed by steeply falling temperatures, especially those below 28°F. Similar to apples and pears, guava fruit is round or oval-shaped with green, yellow, or slightly pink skin. Fruit contains small, hard seeds and has a fragrant, flowery aroma and bold flavor, ranging from sweet to slightly tart. Guava trees can bloom year-round, but spring is the primary season. Fruit is ready 90 to 150 days after first bloom, usually in late summer or early fall, depending on growing region. Flowers are primarily pollinated by honeybees. Ripeness indicators include color, aroma, and texture depending on variety though harvest often depends on the intended destination and use of the fruit. Less ripe guava is picked when full-sized and dark to light green in coloring. The firm-yellow stage is better for long-distance shipping, while yellow and soft is only for local markets and fresh consumption.