Seedling cherimoyas, when grown under favorable cultural conditions, begin to bear the third or fourth year after planting. Most of them, even at fifteen or twenty years of age, do not produce annually more than a dozen good fruits. Occasional trees are more satisfactory in this respect, and it is such trees which should be propagated by budding. The writer has observed one small tree in Guatemala which bore eighty-five fruits in a single season, and C. H. Gable found a tree in Madeira which bore three hundred.
In California the main season for cherimoyas is spring, usually March and April; but sometimes a few fruits mature in late autumn. In Argentina the season is February to July. Felix Foex states that there are ripe cherimoyas in Mexico throughout the year, owing to the presence of trees at different elevations. From personal observation the writer ventures to doubt whether this all-year season is a fact; in any event, they are not abundant during the entire year. In Madeira the fruit begins to ripen about the end of November and continues in season until early in February.
When fully mature or "tree-ripe," the fruits are picked and laid away to soften. If, however, they are to be shipped to distant markets they are packed as soon as removed from the tree, and dispatched at once so that they will reach their destination before they have become soft. When fully mature and ready to pick, they usually have a yellowish tinge. In Mexico they are packed for shipment in baskets, using hay or straw as a cushion. According to H. F. Schultz, the same method is used in Argentina, where twelve to fifteen dozen fruits are packed in a basket. Good ventilation should be insured, and the fruits should not be wrapped in paper. Cherimoyas exported from Madeira to London net the growers $1.00 to $1.20 a dozen. In Argentina the average price to growers is $2.20 a dozen.