Packing Crespo Organic Ataulfo & Tommy Atkins Mangoes!
Ocozocoautla de Espinosa (Coita), Chiapas, Mexico
In 2019, just prior to the mango season, El Grupo Crespo opened Empaque Don Jorge II (EDJ II) in Ocozocoautla de Espinosa, Chiapas, or – as the locals call it – Coita. As the Crespo family’s second proprietary mango pack house moves into it’s 4th season with efficiency and expertise and begins packing mangoes along side our partner packhouse in Oaxaca, it does so with expanded organic mango volumes and increased packing outputs.
EDJ II 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 was revamped and modernized several years ago, making it Latin America’s largest and most advanced hydrothermal mango packhouse. EDJ II is smaller but equally powerful and is expecting it’s own enlargement and modernization in the seasons ahead.
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 and enhanced long term direct relationships and partnerships with retailers, wholesalers and home delivery companies.
Over the last several years, infrastructure improvements were equally prioritized alongside increasing organic mango orchards, in particularly in the south around Oaxaca and Chiapas. All allowing for the expansion and development of organic mango programs. this means not only increasing sales and consumer support for existing programs, but building new ones from scratch, something Crespo Organic excels at.
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. The Chiapas packhouse and the orchards that surround it have greatly expanded the early season 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 4-5 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!
In the last four seasons many of the workers from the southern region move north to work for EDJ I when the Chiapas season ends. El Grupo Crespo provides housing in their hometown of El Rosario and surrounding communities where over five generations of families have worked for the company.
About two hours away, El Grupo Crespo has about 200 hectares of organic mango orchards, plus another 200 in Oaxaca that both feed into this packhouse. This is a gigantic increase in volume compared to when EDJ II first opened with only about 200 hectares.
EDJ II is a certified organic, has all food safety certifications including the GSFI Facility Certification. It is SMETA audited for Social Responsibility (labor, health, safety, and environmental practices.)
*EDJ II certifications: Global Gap, Primus GSFI , 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.