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M&M Farm seeks wider distribution for its Florida green skin avocados

M&M Farm Inc. in Miami, which markets some 40 different tropical fruits and vegetables under the “M&M Tropicals” brand, is probably the second largest grower of Florida green skin avocados, according to Mark Vertrees, marketing director.

Many of the products, including avocados, are grown by M&M in Florida. Other items are imported, mainly from Central America and South America.

The Florida green skin avocado season was “just getting underway” when The Produce News talked to Mr. Vertrees July 26. “The Florida season really goes from July 1st through March,” with peak season being September through December, he said.

This year’s crop is a “very good crop” and larger than the previous crop. It is also “very good quality.” Currently there is good demand and steady movement, he said.

Florida green skin avocados differ from the well-known Hass avocado variety not only in their color, which remains green when the fruit is ripe, but also in size. “It is a big avocado in comparison to the Hass avocado,” Mr. Vertrees said. It is also “known for having less fat than other avocados, and that is a selling point.”

For people who are “used to seeing the small avocado in California and other areas,” the Florida green skin is “something unique and a little bit different tasting,” Mr. Vertrees said. It is also “a lot of avocado for the money.”

Florida green skin avocados are “very popular in Florida and “have gained popularity in the Southeast.” Now they are also “expanding to the rest of the country.” Retailers find it as a means to diversify the avocado category, often displaying it alongside the smaller, darker-skinned Hass fruit.

“We have seen that retailers who have tried selling this next to their other avocados have experienced successful incremental [increases in] sales,” he said.

“Most of these retailers have 15 different varieties of apples throughout the year,” he continued. Adding the Florida green skin avocado to the display “makes a great extension … to the existing avocado category they currently have.”

Florida green skin avocados are not, strictly speaking, a single variety but an assortment of varieties that harvest at different times in the season. But the varieties are “so similar” in characteristics that they are all marketed simply as Florida green skins — or, more specifically in this case, as “M&M Tropical” brand Florida green skins, according to Mr. Vertrees.

M&M hopes to “gain wider distribution” for the product “with retailers throughout the country,” he said. “We would like them to try this very unique piece of fruit” that is still unfamiliar to many people in some parts of the country.