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Celebrating 17 years of partnership by co-branding tomato program

Seventeen years into their partnership, Calavo Growers and Agrícola Belher celebrate their alliance by co-branding their tomatoes. The program, which includes vine-ripened rounds, romas, and mature greens, has tomatoes produced year-round in two regions in Mexico: Culiacan, Sinaloa during winter and spring, and in Jalisco year-round.

The collaboration goes back to 2007 when Calavo and Agrícola Belher joined forces to add tomatoes to the Calavo product lineup on a seasonal basis from Sinaloa. In 2015, in a joint partnership, a state-of-the-art campus of greenhouses in Jalisco, Agrícola Don Memo, was built for year-round production.

The team from Agrícola Belher.

"We are committed to quality, the latest technology, and the highest food safety standards. Calavo shares that commitment," said Agrícola Belher founder Rosario Beltrán. Beltrán's sons later joined the business, with Antonio Beltrán serving as CEO and Juan Carlos Beltrán Ochoa handling marketing and business development.

Studying new techniques for growing tomatoes in protected environments has included traveling to other countries such as The Netherlands, Spain, and South Africa to learn and implement those practices into their operations.

High-tech growing pays off for Agrícola Belher and Calavo, not just from a sustainability standpoint, but economically. Benefits include enhanced yields on significantly less land, less energy consumption, less water input, and an integrated pest management system (IPM) that allows a friendly growing environment concerning pests.

The program includes vine-ripened rounds, romas, and mature greens produced year-round in two regions in Mexico.

As committed as Agrícola Belher is to its crops, it is equally passionate about transforming the lives of employees and their families by offering free housing, food, and educational services for more than 2,500 workers and childcare for more than 600 children. Their Community Development Centers incorporate a comprehensive social and intellectual development program including education from preschool through high school, nutrition and healthy meals, medical/dental clinic, sports, and addiction prevention.

For Calavo, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, the tomato program is synergistic in many ways. "Tomatoes are a strong complementary product to our avocado business both in the produce department, where they are most often merchandised side by side, and in forever growing foodservice menu offerings," said Mike Browne, EVP sales & operations for Calavo.

In addition to the co-branding update, Calavo's Tomato Sales team has been restructured. Kurt Kistler, VP of tomato sales joined the company in November 2023 with over 25 years of fresh produce industry experience. Kistler manages Calavo's team of tomato sales professionals, Irene Amezaga, Jonathan Barbarine, and Alexa Stone.

For more information:
Lindsay Martinez
Calavo Growers
Tel: (+1) 805.921.3283
[email protected]

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