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New staffer, new product at Brooks Tropicals

Brooks Tropicals in Homestead, FL, has hired Peter Leifermann as its new sales and fruit procurement director and has also added passion fruit to its product lineup.

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Peter Leifermann

Mr. Leifermann has been in produce for over 20 years. Right out of college, he started working in the foodservice industry supplying produce to a Georgia chain of pizza restaurants. He then joined Cooseman’s Atlanta, and over the following seven years, he worked at various Cooseman’s facilities including Cooseman’s Cleveland.

In 2000, Mr. Leifermann moved to Homestead and became managing partner at C Brands, transitioning to vice president when Fresh King purchased the company. Mr. Leifermann then moved to J&C Tropicals followed by Pantai USA before joining Brooks Tropicals.

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“Tropicals are growing across the board. Consumer groups in almost every conceivable demographic are onboard. Everyone’s enjoying tropical produce,” he said in a Dec. 8 press release. “It’s gone beyond Caribbean and Latino cuisines; tropicals are becoming an integral part of the North American palette. It’s great to be a part in this excitement. And I’m happy to be working for Brooks, a company I’ve always admired.”

Mr. Leifermann lives in Homestead with his wife and two daughters.

The company has also added passion fruit to its line of tropical fruits and vegetables. Grown in the Redlands, FL, farming area just south of Miami, the passion fruits come in shades of pale-pink, red and lavender. Passion fruit grown in Florida is generally large with soft skin and is available year-round with volumes peaking in February, June and September.

Inside, the fruit has intensely aromatic yellow-green pulp wrapped around crisp seeds. Its juice has a rich and luscious taste that is refreshing with a slight sweet and sour floral flavor.

Although it is ready to eat when picked, the passion fruit will sweeten as it wrinkles.

Consumers can use a sharp knife to cut the fruit in half lengthwise before scooping out the contents. The pulp can be eaten fresh or strained for juice.

Passion fruit is a good topping for ice cream and yogurt in all its forms: frozen, plain, flavored or Greek. It can add a luscious taste to sauces, soufflés, desserts and juices, and its juice adds an exotic flair to papayas and apples.