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Continental Fresh commitments to mangos, sustainability

Continental Fresh is a grower, shipper and importer of fresh fruits and vegetables from Latin America, specializing in mangos year-round. Connecting dependable growers to its customers in the U.S. market, Continental Fresh has nurtured a reputation of being highly knowledgeable of the import market, providing regular market updates and forecasts to ensure that its product is delivered on time and in peak condition.

For nearly two decades transparency and integrity with both growers and buyers has been a key component of Continental Fresh’s success, but it has greater ambitions than being the import experts.

The journey began in the 1980s, spearheaded by Albert Perez, a visionary leader with a passion for servant leadership. In 1985, Perez took a significant step, founding LIFO Missions, a non-profit organization dedicated to building water systems in Latin America. The profound impact of LIFO inspired individuals, like Danny Rodriguez, to start their own non-profit initiatives years later.

Today, the outcome of Perez’s passion and influence is known as BLUE Missions. This legacy of leadership and commitment to social responsibility laid the foundation for Continental Fresh’s ethos.

In 1987, Perez embarked on his foray into the produce industry at the Port of Miami, where he started as a filing clerk for Chestnut Hill Farms. He worked his way up through various roles, including accounting, warehousing, and inventory management, before transitioning into the role of sales assistant. Under the mentorship of seasoned salesman Chuck Olsen, Perez developed key sales skills that he still leans on today. Growing up in a Cuban family surrounded by mango trees in Miami, Perez’s early connection to mangos ignited his ambition to introduce the tropical fruit to the broader U.S. market. He recognized the untapped potential of mangos and embarked on a mission to elevate the mango category. His efforts were successful and grew the mango category to what it is today.

Today, Continental Fresh stands as a beacon of sustainability and community development in the produce industry. Through its Water For All program, a cornerstone initiative, Continental Fresh donates a percentage of proceeds from every Water For All branded box of mangos to BLUE Missions, supporting clean water and sanitation projects in Latin America. To date, Continental Fresh has contributed more than $150,000 to BLUE Missions, empowering communities and fostering positive change.

“At Continental Fresh, we believe in the transformative power of mangos and the importance of giving back to the communities that cultivate them,” said Albert Perez, CEO and grower relations at Continental Fresh, and chairman of the National Mango Board. “Through our sustainable sourcing practices and community development initiatives, we are proud to make a difference in the world.”

Continental Fresh’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond philanthropy. In addition to supporting initiatives like the Water For All program, it goes one step further by organizing and participating in events such as its annual trek. This November, hikers will traverse 27.6 miles of tropical and pine forests over three days to the summit of Pico Duarte, at 10,128 ft. above sea level. There, they will spend time connecting with the locals of a community that BLUE Missions has worked with to overcome the water crisis. By actively engaging in activities like the trek, the company bridges its passion and purpose with the tangible work its programs support, creating a meaningful experience for communities across Latin America.

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