Desperately seeking fresh passionfruit in the NY metro area (Westchester, if at all possible). I fell in love with this (especially in caipirinhas!) in Brazil a few years ago, but never seem to see them here. Passionfruit juice is also near impossible to get. (I see the Goya cans sometimes, but find it overly sweet.)
This point was driven home to me on a recent trip to Germany, where I saw both fresh and juice. I ask myself, is there actually a bigger market in northern Europe for this than in the US!? Or more Brazilians in Germany than in NY?? I find that hard to believe...
At just about any Brazilian store you can buy Passion Fruit concentrate, as well as boxes of Passion fruit juice/nectar. Fairly common is frozen passion fruit pulp which are sometimes in separate freezers with other pulps. Fresh passion fruit is more of a specialty item. Goya offers passion fruit nectar which is pretty lousy, but they and Le Fe also have frozen pulp (a bit harder to find, but available in caribbean markets too) which is decent (the brazilian frozen pulp is better, though). I don't know much about Westchester, but a good starting point might be this Brazilian Butcher: Central Meat Market, 72 W Lincoln Ave, Mt Vernon, NY, (914) 260-5312. There probably are other options in Mt Vernon as there are a decent number of Brazilian businesses, but otherwise you might need to go to Astoria and Long Island City which would have even more options.
Thanks for these tips. But I still don't understand why it is (until now, for me), impossible to find fresh maracuja. Admittedly, I have not been making a concerted effort for long, but still!!
Puddle, perhaps you could shed some light on this. I remember you and Toot from a Chow gathering at a midtown restaurant about 5-6 years ago that was a lot of fun.
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re: Lisa M
Good question, Lisa. I love maracujá too, and never really understood it until I started going to Brazil, where all the fruits taste of a ripeness that's a different order of magnitude from the US. But even in Brazil, it's rare to find a truly ripe passion fruit, they're always a little sour, so you'll need to add sugar to your caipirinha. Only when we were in Recife did we taste truly ripe off the tree maracujá, and it was amazing. So anyway, my guess is that the market here is pretty small because people don't really appreciate what it can be, and besides it's really difficult to get it from farm to table with ripeness.
re: Lisa M
Lisa as I suggested above, fresh passion fruit is more of a specialty item. And as puddle mentions ripeness is an issue -- especially since ripe passion fruit can be wrinkled and the American consumer will assume its spoiled. That said, you can at least find out about wholesale availability using USDA produce reports from various terminal markets around the US.
For instance if you select NYC and then Passion Fruit, you will see that several sizes (20-36pcs per case) of purple passion fruit from Florida is available in the NYC area and cost just over $40 wholesale. Since there is no price range, its probably a single wholesaler carrying it right now and that report could even be a couple weeks old (in other words its out of season but you could get lucky). If you were willing to order a case, a friendly produce supplier might be able to order it for you (at a premium over that price). Less than a case, you would have to convince that retail vendor they'll be able to sell the case. Many wholesalers will do cash and carry (especially since produce is generally not subject to local taxes) which could save you a bit of cash (based on the price you can tell that a retailer is going to probably want $2+/pc) but you have to then figure out which market/supplier/jobber can provide it.
I still think for most purposes you would be better off with the concentrate or frozen puree, but depending on the degree of your craving its possible to try to find fresh passion fruit.