Miky Suarez, a Founder of MAS Melons & Grapes, Discusses Strong Honeydew Market
NOGALES, AZ - With the Mexican Honeydew season well underway, MAS Melons and Grapes is focusing on flavor and consistency to address the needs of its retail partners and the end consumer.
Currently harvesting in Colima, Mexico, MAS has been investing in new seed varieties that develop flavor, as well as new technologies to more accurately measure brix levels on its 10-month honeydew program.
“Taste has always been a driving factor in our Honeydew program. We have spent the past four years testing different seed varieties to find the fruit that presents the best eating experience and quality,” Miguel ‘Miky’ A. Suarez, one of the Founders of the Nogales, Arizona-based company, tells me.
MAS is currently ahead of last year’s numbers in terms of volume growth, with Honeydews up 60% compared to the early 2014 season. “By the end of the season, we are looking to be up 35% over last year,” Miky notes. Looking back over the years, the company has experienced tremendous growth, increasing its crop size by 50% over the past 7 years.
With the growing popularity in melon categories all around, MAS has also expanded its portfolio to include conventional Mini Seedless Watermelons. This company is working on its first trial now in Colima.
“The quality of the fruit is excellent and we hope to have promotable volumes next year,” Miky says.
Miguel notes that the markets for both Honeydew and Mini Seedless Watermelons are very strong at present, due to lighter volume from Central America and Northern Mexico earlier in November and December.
“The Colima area has had very favorable growing conditions so far, and we are looking to keep a steady supply to market through April,” Miky tells me.
While the U.S. is still MAS’ number one export destination, the company has seen incredible growth in other markets including Japan. MAS established MAS Melons & Grapes Japan in 2001 and has been ramping up that operation ever since to keep quality and service up to par.