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Empaque Don Jorge II Opens for the Season

February 26, 2020

Ocozocoautla de Espinosa (Coita), Chiapas, Mexico

Last February, El Grupo Crespo opened Empaque Don Jorge II (EDJ II) in Ocozocoautla de Espinosa, Chiapas, or – as the locals call it – Coita. 

 This is not to be confused with Empaque Don Jorge (EDJI) –  El Grupo Crespo’s original and main packhouse located in El Rosario, Sinaloa, Mexico. EDJ I’s total remodel finished last year, making it Latin America’s largest hydrothermal mango packhouse.

EDJ I took four years for its total revamp, funded in part by the direct trade business model that El Grupo Crespo began to employ several years back. This model enabled the family to re-invest in their own farms, packhouses, and operations, despite the mango category’s dwindling margins. Eliminating extra hands along the supply chain (border brokers, in particular) made this investment possible.

Over the last several years, infrastructure improvements were equally prioritized alongside growing our mango programs. Improvements to EDJ I were only one of these infrastructure improvements. Another priority was to increase volume capacity in the southern early regions, hence EDJ II which is now opening for its second season.

Older equipment at EDJ I was replaced by higher tech, modern equipment. The still fully functional equipment was sent down to Chiapas where the fully remodeled warehouse was turned into a mango packhouse in the winter of 2018. Washers, sorters, packing lines… everything exists here. This new packhouse should greatly expand the offerings for the Crespo Organic Mango program.

EDJ II is conveniently located near Tuxtla, in western Chiapas, which is attached to the main throwaways that lead north. It sits on about 2 acres of land, and the actual packhouse is about 25K ft2. Packing capacity is 4 truckloads per day. The packhouse is equipped with 4 hydrothermal tanks, 1 washing line, and 3 packing lines – one of which is fully dedicated to Crespo Organic Mangoes. Cold storage is abundant with a five truckload capacity.

The EDJ II packhouse is about a 4 to 5-day drive to El Grupo Crespo’s US warehouses, RCF Nogales and RCF McAllen. During the season (February through late April), it operates Monday through Saturday.

At peak season, the packhouse employs about 80 workers. Most workers come from the local area of Coita (Ocozocoautla) and the neighboring towns Berriozábal and Tapachula. Ruben Sanchez manages EDJII for El Grupo Crespo.  He also manages EDJ I, overseeing EDJII from January through April and then Empaque Don Jorge I (EDJ I) (or the Sinaloa packhouse) from April through the end of the season. he’s a busy (and important) guy!

About two hours away, El Grupo Crespo has about 200 hectares of organic Ataulfo and Tommy Atkins orchards that feed into this packhouse.

EDJ II is now certified organic with all food safety certifications, as well as audited for labor, health, safety, and environmental practices. }
*EDJ II certifications: Global Gap, Primus GSF, USDA Organic, and SMETA audited. SMETA is an ethical trade audit that covers Sedex’s four pillars of Labor, Health, Safety, and Environment, as well as business ethics.

Farm, Featured, News

Mexican Mango Season Opens….

January 29, 2020

Everybody’s favorite mango varietal- the Ataulfo, up first

Mexican mango season always opens with small volumes, and this season’s start promises much of the same. Cooperating weather has given way to an “on-time” start with the expected minimal volumes of organic Ataulfos. Growers expect fruit to arrive on US soil around the first ten days of February.

The season generally begins in late January and runs through mid-September. The southern regions of Oaxaca and Chiapas are always first to begin. From there, the season moves north approximately every three to four months as warmer weather travels up Mexico, through Michoacán, Nayarit, and Sinaloa. Several regions eventually overlap, creating many peaks in production. Continue Reading…

Farm, Featured, News

Blooms Begin in Southern Mexico

November 20, 2019

Fall crop update; Ecuador, Peru and Southern Mexico bloom watch

Mexico’s organic mango season is a big one. Not only is Mexico the longest and farthest stretching of all the mango regions we import from, but it yields the most consumer demand and highest sales volumes. Now is when we start to monitor growth closely, paying attention to all the details leading up to the 2020 season onset. In organics, onset typically occurs in February. There are undoubtedly many unknowns this time of year, but we can begin to read the clues. These help us predict what nature has in store. Continue Reading…

Farm, Featured, News, Secrets & Lies

Foretelling the Mexican Season Wind Down

July 29, 2019

It’s  complicated depending on who you ask…..

Currently Crespo Organic is on the downside of  peak of Kent season from Sinaloa. The Nayarit region has finished and all packhouses in that region have closed. Our orchards in Sinaloa, which dot the surrounding area of our hometown El Rosario and encircle our main packhouse, Empaque Don Jorge,  are brimming with ample volumes and varied sizes.  We are currently harvesting Kent mangoes and, in a few weeks, will be harvesting Mexico’s final variety- the Keitt.  The best news to report is that the outstanding quality we have seen all season long  is currently looking to trend the same through most of August, more than that,  I find the foretelling of the end of the Mexican mango season difficult.

Continue Reading…

Farm, Featured, News

Summertime Crop Update

June 13, 2019

 

 Mexican organic mango season prepares for great peak. We will all be dripping in sweet mango mania.

I do a fair amount of writing work in addition to all my other doings…. This article was originally written for and published (in edited form) by Organic Produce Network, to see the edited version on OPN’s weekly newsletter- click here.

Consumers are having an excellent Mexican organic mango season, larger than normal displays of great looking and tasting fruit are bountiful and prices have been incredibly appetizing. This mango mania is expected to continue as the season has completed the transition into the most voluminous northern producing regions of Nayarit and Sinaloa. Reports of orchards of abundance  mangoes will surely bring ample promotions over the hot summer months when consumer cravings are most copious.

Continue Reading…

Culture, Farm, Featured, People, Secrets & Lies

Empaque Don Jorge (Agricola Crespo)

May 22, 2019

Mango Holding Area, Empaque Don Jorge, El Rosario, Sinaloa Mexico

Boasting the most efficient and modern mango pack house around

Disclaimer: This is a boastful and prideful post about a packing house that I truly believe in. I’m one of a few globally well-traveled industry folks with an extremely diverse make up of commodities, markets, cultures and systems. I have seen a lot of packing houses and “sheds” in my travels and this one is my personal favorite- which is why I’ work with them. Boasting this facility and the Crespo’s is the natural outcome of my true beliefs.

 

We don’t talk enough about packing houses in our business yet this is the one place that usually solves and/or causes most problems in terms of product quality and food safety. Most fruits and vegetables are harvested and then brought to a packing house or shed where they are then packed into various bulk or retail packaging. These large and small sorting/packing hubs serve as the distribution outlet for the farm  and/or the farmers. These facilities can be modern, elaborate, high tech, clean and simple, dirty and even  bare bones covered (shaded) tables where things like fresh herbs are packed right out of the field.

Continue Reading…

Farm, Featured, Secrets & Lies

Mango Truths (Forecasting Summer)

May 8, 2019

Sleuthing through the noise north and south of the border

The truth is not always easy to find. It’s much like self-awareness. You have to have a great deal of will to find it.  The current mango market is a strange one that has a lot of folks asking questions about what’s currently happening and what’s next.

In addition to produce being fickle in general, global warming has made forecasting difficult and unpredictable. Making matters worse, the industry is getting ultra-competitive with skinnier profit margins and higher operating costs. Mangoes -all the while- are a booming business. American consumers increasingly clamor for this sweet fruit, and there is little demand slowdown in sight. To-the-minute information is almost impossible to get right and those able to provide it often feel like they’re yielding what little power they have left by sharing it.

Continue Reading…

Farm, Featured

Copious Mexican Fruit (Coming Soon)

March 7, 2019

All Region Season Predictions are In

 It’s a funny (funny weird, not funny ha ha) time to report on copious amounts of  mangoes.  Supply on the round mangoes has taken an abrupt turn this week as Peru’s volume of Kents finally came to a halt  and as Mexican Tommy Atkins are still just drizzling out of the orchards. Shortage is the main talk of the mango town. ………BUT.

Continue Reading…

Farm, Featured, Secrets & Lies

Carbon Sequestration in Mango Trees

February 25, 2019

Nature gives us a green deal in mangoes

The business of growing food for the American and Canadian markets in Mexico can often seem, and often times is, a strain on the environment. Regardless of whether your climate change viewpoints fall right, left or center, we could all agree that the unpredictable nature of weather affects us all. As more and more people around the globe lean more towards believing in climate change, more resources are shifted into its science and studies, and with that comes not only solutions but simple information that can sometimes surprise us all.

New studies are continuing to emerge leading to conclusions that mango orchards can help mitigate climate change.

Continue Reading…

Farm, Featured, Secrets & Lies

The Squeezed Squeeze Back

February 5, 2019

Round Mango Market Difficulties Ahead

Weeks 8-12 are the problem. Last Friday there was an early morning surge of mango chatter amongst industry folks.  A handful of the bigger conventional players released a series of statements —more like warnings, in the form of internal and external emails, the subject being massive shortages of round mangoes as the Peruvian season winds down and transitions into Mexican and Central American fruit.

Continue Reading…