Julie Morton writes in
her book, “Fruits of Warm Climates” that sapotas most likely came from the
Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, northern Belize, and the northern regions of
Guatemala. Though sapodillas have been harvested since ancient times, the fruit
didn’t come to Sri Lanka’s soils until 1802. Despite sapota’s relatively late
arrival to India, the fruit has since flourished.
Today, Sri Lanka, Pakistan,
Mexico, Central and South America, Palestine, and the Philippines grow chikus
commercially. The fruit has some recognition in the tropical parts of Florida
in the US, but sapodillas are relatively unknown throughout temperate North
America and Europe.
Indian sapodillas are
some of the hardiest in the world. Sapotas grow in abundance throughout
Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Andhra Pradesh.
According to 2010 figures published from the National Horticulture Board,
sapota orchards cover approximately 160,000 hectares. Almost 30,000 hectares are located in
Karnataka-- the top producer of sapotas in the country, yielding 353,000 metric
tons. The second highest producer is Maharashtra, growing 70,000 hectares and
producing 98,000 metric ton. Although Gujarat only dedicates 27 hectares, their
output is a staggering 272 metric tons of fruit.