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
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Hawaii papayas are picked from trees on the Big Island of Hawaii and lovingly shipped to your door. Relive your tropical memories with the unforgettable fresh taste of this delicious, nutritious fruit. It is a wonderful gift for yourself, your family, and your friends.
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