Papaya Production Around The World

Although Hawaii is one of the smallest volume producers of papaya in the  world, Hawaii Papaya is widely recognized for its superior taste and quality.  This excellence is due to plant breeding, ideal weather and rich volcanic  soils. But where else in the world can we find this most wonderful, delicious and nutritious fruit?

The papaya most enjoyed for its delicate sweet flavor throughout the world  is the Carica Papaya. It is native to tropical America, originating from  southern Mexico and Central America. The papaya plant is a small tree,  usually with a single trunk growing from16 to 30 feet tall, with spirally  arranged leaves at the top of the plant. Papayas are typically grown from  seed and plants can have male flowers only, female flowers only or hermaphrodite flowers (both male and female flower parts in the same flower).

For commercial production in Hawaii, seeds are planted by hand.  Once flowering occurs, and the flower types can be identified, some o the  trees are culled and only the hermaphroditic plants are left in the fields to grow and produce fruit. This practice promotes a high degree of self  pollinated fruit and ensures the uniform papaya shape of the fruit. 

Papaya is widely grown throughout the tropics with almost 14 million metric  tons produced in 2020. India is the worlds largest producer at 43% of the  world’s production. Commercial production is limited to the tropics because  papaya does not tolerate a freeze. Papaya is the 5th most consumed  tropical fruit behind mango, banana, pineapple and avocado. Papaya is  grown in Hawaii, Brazil, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Southeast Asia, China, and Africa. Each of these countries have used  plant breading techniques to develop varieties best suited to their particular soil and climates. This results in many different shapes, sizes and flavors.

Maradol Red Mexican Hawaii Rainbow

The United States is one of the largest papaya importers. The two most  common types available in US markets are the Mexican Red Maradol and  the Hawaiian solo hybrids. The Maradol weighs between 3 to 5 pounds  each with orange/yellow skin when ripe. The flesh has a musky scent.  Hawaii was the first producer to develop the “solo” or single serving, small  papaya which weighs about one pound each. The most common variety  now produced in Hawaii is the “Rainbow” a yellow fleshed color weighing  1.2 to 1.8 pounds, slightly larger than the original “solo” variety.

Papaya fruit from Brazil, the Caribbean and Central America are also  imported into the USA. They all produce fruit similar to the original “solo”  variety and many used seed from Hawaii to begin their plant breeding  program. They typically have red flesh and small size fruit. Their fruit is  mostly found in the South and Eastern regions of the United States due to  the lower shipping costs. Similarly, Hawaii papaya will be found on the  West Coast of the USA due to cheaper transportation costs to the West  Coast from Hawaii.

Even papaya fruit grown in other countries produced directly from Hawaii seed cannot match the superior flavor of papaya grown in Hawaii. Papaya requires good drainage and regular abundant rainfall. Most of the papaya  produced in Hawaii is in the district of Puna on the Big Island of Hawaii  which has an active volcano (Kilauea). Many papaya fields are on recent  lava flows rich in minerals. Average rainfall in Hilo is over 150 inches per  year. This combination of rainfall, sunshine and lava soil is unique in the  world and is responsible for the best tasting papaya on the planet.

Hawaii papaya is grown in the USA and follows strict USDA food safety regulations.

Freshly Picked Papaya From Local Hawaii Farms

Two Day Shipping To Your Home

Shop Now