WP Produce is turning the tropical fruit industry avocado green with envy.
Updated: May 2
WP Produce is turning the tropical fruit industry avocado green with envy. Pioneers in the Dominican green skin avocado market, Miami-based WP Produce Corp. began sourcing green skin avocados from the Dominican Republic in 1992 after the Florida crop of green skin avocados was wiped out by hurricanes. Because of the high quality of the fruit and strong partnerships with growers in the Dominican Republic, WP Produce continues to be the largest importer and distributor of Dominican green skin avocados.
“Family has always been an important part of our company,” Willy Pardo, president and founder of WP Produce told The Produce News. “We’ve been family-owned and operated since 1984, and in fact, our Desbry brand is named after my two children — Desiree and Bryan.”
WP Produce markets its green skin avocados under the Desbry brand name. WP Produce not only packs and ships green skin avocados, but the company also grows them as well. With farms in the Valdesia and Ocoa regions of the Dominican Republic, as well as partnerships with farmers throughout the Cambita and Puerto Plata regions of the Dominican Republic, WP Produce is able to keep a consistent, high quality and abundant supply of green skin avocados.
In October, WP Produce opened a brand new, state-of-the-art packinghouse facility in the Dominican Republic, its second such facility in the country.
“Because we own the land we farm on and have strong relationships with our growers, we can ensure a consistent, high-quality supply of produce throughout the season, said Desiree Morales, vice president of WP Produce. “Our customers have come to depend on the care we take in selecting and packing our produce.”
WP Produce is able to source green skin avocados from the Dominican Republic year-round, with the main season running from mid-October through mid-May. From May through October, WP Produce also sources green skin avocados from local farmers in Florida.
WP Produce’s green skin avocados are a worldwide phenomenon. Desbry green skin avocados are distributed across the Caribbean, U.S. and Canada. WP Produce also exports directly from the Dominican Republic to Europe.
Currently, conventional green skin avocados are available, but WP Produce has a plan for organic offerings that is in the works for future seasons.
WP Produce officials said they are interested in starting a retail sampling and recipe program for Desbry green skin avocados to encourage consumers to try the exotic avocado variety. They are also strong supporters of the work being done by the International Executive Service Corps
and the USDA to introduce green skin avocados more broadly to the U.S. market and to increase consumer awareness of the Dominican Republic as an avocado growing region.
“We are very excited for the work IESC is doing to promote green skin avocados in the U.S.,” said Christopher Gonzalez, vice president of sales at WP Produce. “Consumers are becoming more and more interested in exotic, tropical produce, and green skin avocados are really starting to see a surge in popularity, especially with the continued demand for avocados as a whole. Consumers want to try the next big thing in avocados.”
According to Morales, “Green skin avocados are also currently seeing greater demand due to the Hass market being so high because of the ongoing strikes in the avocado growing regions of Mexico. Because of this price increase for Hass avocados, consumers, chefs and the foodservice industry have begun substituting them with green skin avocados. Rather than being used for guacamole, the firmer texture of this giant fruit makes it ideal for salads, smoothies, toast, sushi, and even in soups,” she said.
Despite sourcing much of its produce from the Caribbean and Central America, WP Produce also handles several varieties in Florida, including summer green skin avocados, boniato root, mamey (sapote), watermelon, Thai guava and corn. Its Miami headquarters is also a key employer in the region.
In addition to green skin avocados, WP Produce also offers a wide variety of tropical produce including Calabaza, chayote, sapote, pineapple, watermelon, plantains, breadfruit, hard green bananas, seedless Persian limes, Thai guavas, red Thai chili peppers, habaneros, corn, culantro, papaya, coconuts, manzanos and Haitian mangos, along with root vegetables including yucca, white and yellow yams, boniato and Malanga (white, Lila and Coco).