CULIACÁN, SINALOA, MEXICO – If you look closely at the building blocks of nearly any success story, you will see the community of people who supported it. Such can be said for Veggies From Mexico, a community of 13 Sinaloa, Mexico-based growers who supply staple crops including tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, string beans, and more.
With a heightened focus on social responsibility, food safety, and sustainability, the grower community takes a unique approach to maximizing benefits for both the buy- and supply-sides.
“Food safety and social responsibility are important to us because it demonstrates our core values, and that’s what ultimately can set us apart in an industry of commodities,” President of the Board Antonio Beltrán Ochoa tells me.
Antonio Beltrán Ochoa, President of the Board, Veggies From Mexico
Veggies From Mexico has a number of strategies in place to ensure its grower partners maintain the highest level of food safety and social responsibility. Each of the suppliers is required to have an official food safety and social responsibility certificate before they can join the community and are assigned a compliance tier. From there, a team of experts from Veggies From Mexico will conduct weekly audit visits to each of the companies throughout the season, ensuring they are maintaining these high standards. If any of the growers lack compliance with the certifications’ criteria during any of these visits, they are suspended from the community.
“Our growers are certified with the most strict food safety and social responsibility certificates in the world such as PrimusGFS, SMETA, GLOBALG.A.P., and more,” Antonio adds. “They have high quality control standards and processes both at the farming and packing level and utilize the latest technology and supplies from all over the world to make sure they provide nothing but the best. It’s all about what we believe in and how that translates into particular behaviors and practices across the farming operation. We genuinely care for our workers and their well-being.”
With a dynamic team of Sinaloa-based growers—some of which have farming operations in other states such as Jalisco, Baja California, and more—Veggies From Mexico works to ensure Mexican-grown produce is well-positioned for success at the retail level. This includes exporting over 25,000,000 boxes of produce every winter to guarantee that its brands are widely available to consumers.
“We have the commitment to provide safe, nutritious, and delicious vegetables,” says Antonio. “The same vegetables we export week after week are the ones that our children and grandchildren put in their salads every day.”
Beyond elevating products at retail, Veggies From Mexico also supports the success of its grower allies by pulling back the curtain on their farming operations, exposing a more personal side of the industry.
“Behind every tomato, pepper, and cucumber from our community, there’s a person or a family, not a big corporation,” Antonio explains. “Some of these families have been in agriculture for almost a century. We want to showcase the fact that somewhere there is a grower that wakes up before dawn and finishes sometime later at night just to make sure their produce is exactly what the consumer wants.”
The produce business is always personal, and Veggies From Mexico upholds these high standards as part of its commitment to both the person eating the fruit and the one growing it.
by Peggy Packer