New use for popular fruit creates jobs in Aserrí

The limits of what can be done with a jocote have not yet been reached.

Workers in Aserrí have shown this by creating achileras de jocote that is being sold commercially. Chilera is a spicy dressing that usually contains more than one type of fruit or vegetable.

The Asociación de Desarrollo Integral de La Uruca de Aserrí generated the idea and Banco Nacional provided the money. Some 80 families produce jocotes, those little green fruits that usually are eaten out of hand.

The problem was to locate a place to process the fruit and train the workers to process them. Then there was the big problem of marketing a new product.

But chileras were just a start. Now the plant is producing some 25 products, including a jocote shampoo, a jocote ice cream and jocote jelly.

The problem with jocotes always has been marketing the gigantic harvests. Some studies suggest that up to 40 percent of the fruit remain on the trees. In 2013 the region generated 2,000 tons of jocotes. The usual season is June through August.

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