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Organics are a key component of Divine Flavor

By
Tim Linden

Divine Flavor has been offering organic fruits and vegetables almost since its beginning more than 30 years ago. In fact, Quality Assurance and Public Relations Coordinator Michael DuPuis is fond of saying “organics are part of our DNA.” Grupo Alta, Divine Flavor’s parent company and its Mexico farming entity, began growing table grapes in Sonora in 1991. It was only a few years later that the partners started growing organic grapes. Today, the company has about a dozen farms and more than 10,000 hectares of farmland in Sonora as well as Jalisco and Baja Mexico.

Its organic efforts began with grapes, but it has built additional programs with its sister company, Viva Organica, and Hortifresh, Divine’s premier organic Bell pepper producer based out of Sinaloa. This summer Hortifresh has added a new organic pepper program in Central Mexico, which gives it year-round production of organic Bell peppers for the first time. DuPuis noted that the company’s category managers will be at the Organic Produce Summit to tout its many organic offerings. “At the time of the show, we should still have our organic Sweet Celebration and Sweet Globe grapes,” he said. “Usually, the grape deal comes to a close by July 10, but we have a late deal as we are trying to stretch that marketing window.”

He added that California’s San Joaquin Valley will begin shipping grapes in early July, but growers there will start with the early varieties, leaving the window open for those mid-season to late varieties. “We will also have our organic vegetables on display,” he said. “This is a good time of the year for us.” With multiple growing regions, Nogales, AZ-based Divine Flavor endeavors to have year-round organic production of its core vegetables including yellow squash, zucchini, Bell peppers, mini-peppers and grape tomatoes. DuPuis said the category managers will be telling Divine Flavor’s story at the show. “We were the first company to be certified organic in Mexico,” he said. “Organics is part of our company philosophy.”

The company’s owners take a very long view of their journey. “Growing organically is the best way to assure longevity in the industry; it is better for the environment, the health of our people and the health of the soil. There is nothing wrong with conventional produce, but we feel very strongly about our organic program,” he said. DuPuis added that Divine Flavor is increasing its presence at OPS this year with the inclusion of the category managers and a booth, as well as being a major sponsor for the opening reception.

Tim Linden

Tim Linden

About Tim Linden  |  email

Tim Linden grew up in a produce family as both his father and grandfather spent their business careers on the wholesale terminal markets in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Tim graduated from San Diego State University in 1974 with a degree in journalism. Shortly thereafter he began his career at The Packer where he stayed for eight years, leaving in 1983 to join Western Growers as editor of its monthly magazine. In 1986, Tim launched Champ Publishing as an agricultural publishing specialty company.

Today he is a contract publisher for several trade associations and writes extensively on all aspects of the produce business. He began writing for The Produce News in 1997, and currently wears the title of Editor at Large.

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