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Empaque Don Jorge Opens

May 5, 2020

Empaque Don Jorge Opens Amidst Heightened Demand & COVID-19
El Grupo Crespo’s Home Packhouse Offers Relief to Crespo & Other Brands

*All photos are pre- remodel, new photos coming soon!

El Rosario, Sinaloa, MexicoEmpaque Don Jorge I (EDJI) opened last week for the season. EDJI is the hometown packhouse of El Grupo Crespo family’s two brands, Crespo Organic & RCF, and Latin America’s largest hydro-thermal packhouse.

Originally built by Roberto Crespo Fitch in the early 1970’s, the packhouse was recently revamped by Roberto’s children Malu, Roberto, Jorge, and Jose Angel. Today they run the family agricultural business (El Grupo Crespo). The siblings initiated the three-year modernization project in Fall 2016 and completed all upgrades last season. This season, all upgrades and modernizations are smoothly running.

 

The group had hoped to travel with Crespo Organic customers to the packhouse at opening time, but the pandemic had other plans. A new campaign that the Crespo Organic marketing team hoped to launch this month educating on the modern facility was also cast aside. This campaign’s aim was to map the mango packing process visually from orchard-to-table, giving customers and consumers an up-to-date peak inside the newly revamped packhouse. For now, the older marketing campaign and videography will have to suffice, new footage is always emerging from Jorge Crespo, aka the #MangoMan, who is happy to show the orchards and packhouse from his perspective.

All upgrades were designed to improve efficiencies, increase outputs, boost quality, and improve working conditions for workers, many whose families have worked at EDJI for over four generations. This season brings a new appreciation for better use of space as COVID-19 has made packing operations complex.

The packhouse’ 100,000 SF floor space was rearranged with the revamp, and now includes an additional packing line, bringing the total to 7 lines, packing over 14 different labels for growers across Mexico and for some of the largest conventional US mango importers. There is one dedicated full-time packing line for the Crespo Organic brand and a sperate section dedicated solely to packing non-treated Canadian exports. An additional hydro-thermal tank was added, bringing the total to 11 stainless steel tanks allowing over 64,000 KG of fresh mangoes to be USDA hot water treated simultaneously.

The packhouse’s season opens with new state-of-the-art cooling equipment and cold chain systems and cold storage volume greatly enhanced and enlarged, accommodating an extra 4 truckloads in pre- and post- cooling facilities.

Despite the COVID-19 complexities and distancing/safety  protocols, the facility anticipates higher outputs than previous seasons. New high-tech, efficient, and worker-friendly stainless-steel machines – washers, sorters, polishers, conveyers, and packing lines across the space – were designed for this. Thus, El Grupo Crespo projects packing capacities will still be sizable during the height of the pandemic and significantly expandable as distancing measures dissipate.

EDJI aims to process at full capacity with 14 truckloads/day within weeks. The optimizations are not only improving efficiencies and making packers’ jobs easier but also helping control costs. This is especially important with the rise of the peso and uncertainties in the marketplace.

The entire mango packing process is extremely complex, it all happens in 72 hours, with over 18 hours allocated to post-pack cooling. EDJI is one of today’s most efficient and quality-driven packhouses packing for North America since these changes have occurred, it also now….OPEN for business. (All photos and videos are pre-modernizations and upgrades, the new photography and videography projects were interrupted by COVID-19 and will commence as soon as possible.)

 

Culture, Farm, Featured, News

Transitioning Regions

April 16, 2020

Volumes, Quality, Opportunities, Uncertainties, Confusions & COVID-19

Chatter about ‘normal life’ is peppering the air these days: When will we be returning to it? What will it look like when we get there? What’s the economic forecast? …And so on, and so forth.

Like pretty much everyone else, I don’t have answers to these particular questions. Expertise seems to be just more chatter and hypothesizing.

I am just one voice in the mango industry, but I am, by nature, a seeker and sharer of information. I have applied this to my role in the mango industry and continue to share macro-level information regarding the mango industry as a whole and the micro level information regarding organic Mexican mangoes.

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Culture, Farm, Featured, News

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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