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Alejandro Santander, co-founder and VP of sales and operation of Magic Sun Farms:

"Our greenhouses are at altitude, which greatly helps with sunlight and nighttime temperatures"

Some might think that the job of a grower is to solely grow food. Yet, the impact that such commercial farms can have goes beyond the mere financial side. Oftentimes, they are part of the local community and can potentially have a positively disruptive role. This has been Mexico-based Magic Sun Farms' goal since the company's inception. "We are very much aware of our social responsibility and are fully committed to that," says Alejandro Santander, co-founder, and VP of sales and operation of Magic Sun Farms. "For instance, we have set up a university and offer scholarships to selected kids of our employees to get engineering and horticulture degrees. The fact that I am proud the most about this is not only that we are teaching the next generation of growers, but also and especially that many of these kids are the first in their family to go to the university."

Growing at altitude
Magic Sun Farms have seven different farms spread across Central Mexico, the Pacific Area, and the northern state of Chihuahua, where they grow different kinds of tomatoes and bell peppers. "Our greenhouses are located in areas with slightly different climates," Alejandro points out. "At the same time, they are all at altitude, in highly elevated places, which greatly helps with both sunlight and nighttime temperatures, ensuring we only get the highest quality tomatoes and bell peppers."

The weather conditions were indeed among the top reasons why Alejandro and Magic Sun Farms selected those locations for their greenhouses. "If you want to get the most flavorful tomatoes, you need a lot of sunlight exposure and cool nights. It's not an easy combination to find." While those locations tick all those marks, winters can get quite harsh. "That is why we work with Dutch hydroponics. Our glass greenhouses are indeed from the Netherlands. We also use the Priva system to control everything inside the facilities."

A three-legged stool
All of that is instrumental in hitting the ultimate goal: quality. "To achieve that, you need three main things," Alejandro points out. "Good genetics, quality water, and optimal weather conditions. For instance, we have water reservoirs and deep wells, whose waters we test continuously." Obviously, quality couldn't be achieved without utter control over all those aspects. "All the greenhouses have screens, micro-screens, and windows, so we can not only better control the airflow with our Priva computers, but we also keep pests and pathogens away from cultivation. In addition to this, to keep our cultivation completely germ-free, there are double entrances to all the greenhouses. Every employee or visitor that gets in, thus, goes through a sanitizing procedure."

Alejandro continues to point out that another crucial aspect of Magic Sun Farms is its commitment to sustainability. "It's also particularly glad to see that such a sustainability push doesn't come only from management, but from employees too. They are very concerned about the environmental impact but also the effects on the community. At our university, we are indeed working on different projects addressing those topics."

Same challenges for everyone 
Although Alejandro and Magic Sun Farms are focused on growing the best produce at an affordable retail price, they are not immune to the current global situation. "The cost has increased tremendously for all items," he says. "Greenhouse materials, inputs, even the cardboard for the packaging. The cost increase for every single thing isn't that significant, but when everything starts piling up, here you have a big challenge." This is happening on top of the recession that has been affecting the US, which is the main market for Magic Sun Farms. "This has been developing for over three months," he points out. "The effects of the recession have affected consumer habits. High retail prices in produce have slowed down every grower in Mexico, US, and Canada. Orders from big retailers have slowed down while demand goes up. Unfortunately, we don't really see that reflected on general produce sales."

Despite the difficulties, Magic Sun Farms haven't passed down the increased cost to consumers and keep serving the US and Canadian market as they have always done. "The continuous commitment to getting the most flavorful tomatoes, and having our consumers appreciate them freshly harvested, is essential for us. Thanks to our location, the right varieties, and the wealth of knowledge of our growers, we only strive for the best result."

For more information: 
Magic Sun Farms
Tel: +1 (715) 764-3034
www.magicsunfarms.com


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