FRUIT & VEGETABLES

Asparagus

“People are starting to realize Thailand can export asparagus”

More consumers and importers are becoming aware of the asparagus from Thailand. As the country has received international help to increase both quality and yield, production is ramping up and demand is increasing.

Nattharinee Ruecha, a consultant for agricultural businesses in Thailand, states asparagus are doing well in Thailand: “Asparagus is one of the most economical vegetables in Thailand. The seasonality for asparagus is all year round. The climate affects the yield of asparagus. For example, with a temperature of 25-30 degrees Celsius it grows well during April to June, which is a rainy season. In the winter season, the yield will be less due to temperature, and price increases. The yield for the whole country is around 20,000-30,000 tons per year.”

According to Ruecha, the asparagus export suffered from the pandemic these past years. “The main export markets for us are Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Europe and the Middle East. However, during the past two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, the export value decreased. Severe drought and sudden floods affected the yield last year. However, this year there are more buying points and producers are starting to increase the production area with help of research and technical growing techniques. Now, we can export 1-3 tons per day. The buying points will gather the production and send it to packhouses to be prepared for export.”


Demand for the asparagus from Thailand is increasing as more buyers become aware that the product is available in this region. “Recently, I have received more inquiries from Europe and Middle East. The demand has increased, probably thanks to the consumers, who have enjoyed the taste of asparagus. In addition, people are starting to realize Thailand can export asparagus, so we just have to make even more people aware of this fact. So, we promote and sell. The more we promote, the more people know, and thus we can sell more of the product.”


The cultivation of asparagus in Thailand has received some international help over the past year, Ruecha explains: “Last year there were a few companies in Taiwan and USA that sent us new varieties of asparagus seeds, to test growing techniques under the climate in Thailand. We still have more varieties to be tested like purple and white types of asparagus. They ask us to work with universities, researchers and smart farmers to get successful results. At the same time, Thai producers here are starting to use smart agriculture to control the irrigation system and increase cultivation efficiency. We are supported by equipment and technology from a university and a few private firms in order to increase yields. LC Global Food (Thailand) Co., Ltd. has its own packing house for asparagus in the city where we live and we are exporting to new markets. Currently, I have been working with DOA, its G2G to open the markets together. I'm opening a market in Israel, where we could not export in the past. Soon we’ll be able to export to Israel, I expect.”


“Prices for asparagus haven’t changed compared to the previous year. The prices will fall only in case the importers buy directly from growers. The price for export grades is between 80-120 baht/kg. The price at farm gate is min. 30-60 baht/kg. We ask growers in the area to grow asparagus for export as well, not only for domestic markets. They are supported by the Department of Agriculture with GAP Certified, The Faculty of Agriculture-Khon Kaen University for new cultivation techniques and seeds from overseas.” Ruecha concludes.

Turmeric

“This year we can export turmeric to the USA, with USDA certification”

It’s almost time for the harvest for turmeric in Thailand, as the harvest should start sometime next month. The higher humidity during cultivation has delayed the harvesting by two weeks to almost a month. One farmer, thanks to the USDA certification, can export the turmeric to the United States.


The turmeric season in Thailand is approaching harvest time. Nattharinee Ruecha is a consultant in agriculture and has been active in the fruit and vegetable for close to two decades. At the moment she’s assisting at a turmeric farm and has seen slight delays in the harvest due to humidity: “For turmeric, it takes between eight and nine months from cultivation to final harvest. In Thailand, we cultivate in the early rain season, and harvest between December and March. This season, the weather did have a small effect on the cultivation, as the higher humidity led to a delay of 15 to 30 days in the harvesting time. Our main export market is USA so far. This year we can export to USA with USDA Certified produce.”


Ruecha expects they’ll have about 900 tons for export this year. “We produce 300 Rai and the production is 600 tons in Tak province, northern Thailand. This year the production is a little bit higher than last year because we have enough rain water to nourish the roots while in the last few years Thailand was in a drought crisis.” she explains.


There’s a lot of history for Turmeric in Thailand, says Ruecha. “Turmeric has been used for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb. It is a local spice which contains high curcumin compound. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. In Thailand, our turmeric is cultivated by Karen descendants, who have cultivated it for many generations in economics woods and forest woods without reforestation. Finally, we help the Karen in our area, so they have a stable income and better living quality, thanks to the cultivation of their turmeric. Our organic turmeric is SdgSPGS and USDA Organic Certified. We are ready to export to around the world!” she concludes.

Durian

Durian is one of the most divisive foods in the world. Loved by some and hated by others, this tropical fruit can be served raw or cooked. Durian is primarily harvested in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, but the unusual fruit has become popular throughout Asia and can be found in Asian markets in the United States.


What Is Durian?

Durian, nicknamed the "king of fruits," is a large, spiky, greenish-brown fruit that is well-loved in its native Southeast Asia. The fruit is known for its strong odor when ripe, which can vary depending on the variety of durian. Many people find the odor off-putting, and the fresh fruit has even been banned from some public places and mass transit. Durians often crack open when ripe, making extracting the edible flesh inside relatively easy (while also distributing that famous aroma). A large knife or cleaver is otherwise used, and the white, yellow, or red flesh—beloved by many for its custardy texture and unique flavor—can be eaten raw or cooked. Durian's short season and limited shelf-life, as well as rising demand, means the fruit is relatively expensive, particularly when imported.

Mangosteen

Although you might think mangosteen has something in common with regular mangoes, it actually has nothing to do with it. Mangosteens are round with a thick, dark, wine-red rind that peels away, and reveals delicate, flavorful milky white flesh with seeds being small enough to be swallowed up without any worries. The fruit has a unique taste and literally dissolves in your mouth.

The sweet fruit is divided into 5 to 8 segments, with some of them containing a seed. Mangosteen fruit always has some surprising sections with no seed at all, but most sections in the fruit have a very large seed. It’s slightly bitter too, thankfully surrounded by sweet, heavenly fruit. It is delicate in texture to the extent that it melts in your mouth. Keep in mind, though, that mangosteen juice may leave marks on clothes that are not easily removed.


Thailand owns the largest plantations of purple mangosteen and is considered to be its most significant producer in the world. The fruit also grows in Malaysia and Indonesia. The peak season for mangosteen lasts from May to August.


When you choose mangosteen at a market, make sure it's not rock hard. The color of a ripe fruit should be dark purple. When the green stem is still attached to the fruit, it means it was picked recently. Mangosteen is eaten fresh, as it's full of vitamins and other health benefits.


Mango

Thai Nam Dok Mai mango has become a favorite global fruit because of its unique qualities — beautiful golden-hued skin; sweet fragrance; smooth, soft, juicy flesh; and its year-round yield. 


Thai Nam Dok Mai mango can be partaken as ripe fruit or with sweet sticky rice known as “Khao-Neow-Ma-Muang.” Apart from its delicious flavor, the mangoes have been known for its health benefits and high nutrition values, part of which include vitamin A, various kinds of B vitamins, vitamin C, beta-carotene, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, manganese, iron, zinc, protein, carbohydrate, and fiber. 


The nutrients in mangoes, no matter what cultivars, are beneficial to the skin condition, vision condition, and brain function. It is the ideal fruit for relieving thirst, restoring vitality, and alleviating nausea condition. Not only can it reduce unwanted symptoms like aphthous ulcer and fever, but it can also prevent diseases such as scurvy, ulcerative colitis, heart disease, and some kinds of cancer. Other health benefits also include improving the digestive system and urinary system, balancing blood pressure and strengthening immunity.

Coconut

Fragrant coconut, or Ma-Phrao Nam-Hom in the Thai language, is another tropical fruit that has been favored by Thai and international consumers. The coconut water contains sugar in the form of glucose, which can be easily absorbed by our body. That’s why one can feel refreshing almost instantly when drinking coconut juice. Plus, the coconut water weighing around 100 grams has an energy of only 79 kcal. 


Although there are many cultivars of coconut in Thailand, the most famous and worldly beloved is Nam-Hom coconut as it yields sweet fragrant fruits that can be partaken as both coconut juice or fresh fruit. It is also accepted that the best Nam-Hom coconut must come from Ratchaburi province, which also produces the most coconut fruits in Thailand. 


The coconut has several health benefits. Some of them include restoring energy instantly, treating dehydration, nourishing skin, strengthening bones, balancing hormones for women entering menopause, etc. The coconut may also be able to prevent heart disease, control blood sugar, manage weight, relieve rash, and fend off gallstone. 


Tropical Green is Thailand’s leading fruit exporter. We select only premium Nam-Hom coconuts from trusted coconut gardens in Ratchaburi and Samutsakorn provinces, the two best places to grow coconut trees. 

Pomelo

Tubtim Siam Pomelo is a geographical indication (GI) fruit, meaning that its qualities or characteristics are essentially attributable to its geographic origin. It is grown only in a specific area of Southern Thailand, and in small quantities, so eating this deliciously sweet fruit is a rare taste treat. Thai people often pay premium prices for Tubtim Siam Pomelo as gifts to others because they believe that this fruit brings luck and wealth.


Since Tubtim Siam Pomelo is now available in China, there is a need to clear confusion and differentiate between the premium fruit grown in Thailand and other high-quality pomelo – often called “Red Pomelo” – grown in China and Taiwan.

The full name of “Red Pomelo” grown in China is Red Honey Pomelo. This follows the color of the pulp. It originated as a bud mutation from the Honey Pomelo, and it has retained some of the characteristics of its parent. The current annual output of Chinese Red Honey Pomelo is about 1.2 million tons, and the growing area is expanding.


The Taiwanese Red Wandan Pomelo is grown in Southern Taiwan and exported in large quantities to Hong Kong and Mainland China, particularly before the annual mid-Autumn festival. Taiwan also exports a popular grapefruit variety that can be confused with pomelo.


Tubtim Siam Pomelo is grown only in parts of southern Thailand, and in very small quantities. Each orchard may produce only 1000 to 2000 pieces of fruit, so it is very precious and hotly sought-after.