The story of Theojary Crisantes

‘Choosing the best organic variety is the first step to success’

Wholesum

Respect for people and nature is embedded in the Crisantes family culture. Wholesum, an American/Mexican production company, grows organic produce in line with Fairtrade principles. Theojary Crisantes is pleased to have such a close relationship with Rijk Zwaan.

Wholesum

Treating people fairly

“When our grandfather, Miguel, left Greece in the 1920s, he arrived on this continent with nothing. He subsequently started his horticultural company in Mexico. In view of our history, it’s only logical that the idea of treating people fairly is deeply rooted in our family business and, likewise, we treat nature with respect. Our father, Theojary, decided he wanted to start growing pesticide-free vegetables 30 years ago. He visited the Netherlands and Spain, where he saw that greenhouse or protected production could help him protect his crops against pests. We’ve been 100% USDA organic since 1992, and we were the first to obtain a fair trade certificate when it became available for bigger companies in 2012.”

 

Wholesum

Preventing problems

“Organic production entails many challenges, mainly diseases and pests. Our philosophy is to prevent as many problems as possible. We aim to have the best variety in the best place at the best time of year. It’s a conscious decision to grow in three different locations: we have 27 acres in Arizona (USA), 95 acres in Sonora (Mexico) and 490 acres in Sinaloa (Mexico) which is even further south. On these farms we grow various types of tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, squash and peppers – some in greenhouses and protected, and others in the open field.”

Verdon RZ is one example of success

“The availability of organic seeds is tremendously important for us, because choosing the best variety is the first step to success. That’s why we work in close collaboration with Rijk Zwaan. They are continuously searching for new varieties that are suitable for organic production. We can trial them at a very early stage, which is extremely valuable for us. One example of success is Verdon RZ, a long cucumber with a resistance against the cucumber green mottle mosaic virus (CGMMV) which is a big regional problem in humid summers. This resistance means we can offer long cucumbers all year round. We’re super-excited about that.”

Knowledge of consumer trends

“We produce a long list of Rijk Zwaan varieties. Just some of the other successes include the Bonwell RZ mini cucumber and Endeavour RZ tomato on the vine. We’re trialling new tomato varieties like Kivu RZ, as well as new squash varieties and pepper varieties from the Sweet Palermo line. We’re continually focused on innovation, which is one thing we share with Rijk Zwaan. Another thing I appreciate about them is the good communication and their extensive knowledge of consumer trends. The company thinks carefully about the marketing proposition whenever it develops a new variety with an appealing flavour, colour, size or texture. How does it meet the needs of organic consumers? I think that’s very important. Our good relationship with Rijk Zwaan helps us to strive for the final goal, which is to successfully grow healthy vegetables in a responsible manner. That’s summed up in our tagline: Grown for Good.”