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Divine Flavor expands organic Bell pepper program

Divine Flavor, one of Mexico’s largest grower-importers, announced its new project of summer organic Bell peppers in Jalisco, Mexico. This program, years in the making, adds another of the company’s staple items to its year-round product list.

Continuing from its established roots in Sinaloa, Mexico, with veteran producer Hortifresh, Divine Flavor will receive its first shipments of organic Bell peppers later this month out of central Mexico.

Carlos Bon of Divine Flavor, VP of Sales (left), Ernesto Urtusuastegui of Hortifresh, Owner and CEO (right
Carlos Bon of Divine Flavor and Ernesto Urtusuastegui of Hortifresh.

Hortifresh, originally based out of Sinaloa, Mexico, is Divine Flavor’s largest grower of organic colored Bell peppers and mini peppers, all of which are produced primarily in hydroponics greenhouses during the west Mexico season. After many years of successful results with the organic Bell pepper programs in Sinaloa, the companies will now have their program in Jalisco to bridge the gap for when Sinaloa starts again in the late fall.

“This is an incredible opportunity for our company as this will highly contribute to our year-round offerings of one of our strongest veg commodities,” said Michael DuPuis, public relations manager of Divine Flavor, based in Nogales, AZ. “Hortifresh is a top-notch agricultural company that specializes in the pepper category. Their ability to establish operations in a new area of Mexico and produce at the caliber they’re known for is a major achievement for both their farm, and ultimately, our programs we have with our customers.”

The new operation in Jalisco, occupying close to 20 hectares, has already been in production for three years producing conventional Bell peppers while the farm engineers at Hortifresh have been laying the groundwork for organic production. This season, Hortifresh will begin 10 additional hectares of organic Bell peppers with the hopes of expanding and adding organic mini peppers in the coming seasons, similar to what is grown at its Sinaloa location.

Leading the charge for Hortifresh and its new facilities in Jalisco is owner and CEO Ernesto Urtusuastegui, who is part of the family-owned company’s third generation. Urtusuastegui has been operating the company since the early 2000s — one of the original grower partners to the Divine Flavor group. Since then, Hortifresh and Divine Flavor have expanded their Bell pepper programs, which service retail chains across the United States and Canada.

Carlos Espada- Facility Manager- Hortifresh Jalisco
Carlos Espada, facility manager for Hortifresh Jalisco.

“All the years being with Divine Flavor comes down to results and trust,” said Urtusuastegui. “We are a single team with a single goal, and that is to produce and sell the best quality Bell peppers to our customers. Now, we are able to do this on a year-round basis, both with our conventional and our organic Bell peppers. It’s been a dream come true.”

Although the first boxes of organic peppers are on the way, Urtusuastegui said the process leading up to this project was quite difficult and required waiting for the right moment.

“This is a project many years in the making between Divine Flavor and Hortifresh,” he said. “We needed to be responsible growers and make sure we would be able to produce the same great quality products we already grow in Sinaloa. The same products the customers already expect from Divine Flavor.”

Urtusuastegui mentioned the geographical region in Jalisco is quite different than the areas where its Sinaloa facilities are located, and it required their teams to fully analyze all the variables to grow at the level they’ve been known for during Hortifresh’s tenure with Divine Flavor.

“Jalisco is a different climate, different soils, different pest and diseases, and it was very important we understood how to manage this,” said Urtusuastegui. “Once this part was out of the way, we were able to focus on what we do best, which is to produce great quality Bell peppers to feed the world.”  

Jalisco has been in production since June and the season will stretch until December once west Mexico begins.

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