Meet Our Organic Farmers: Wholesum Harvest
At Cece’s® Veggie Co., our organic growers and suppliers are like family! Today we have a special double-header feature on one of our sustainable sources, Wholesum Harvest. Cece’s™ team leads in operations and purchasing traveled to Arizona to visit the Wholesum team, and then we had the pleasure of hosting the Wholesum team in our own facility in Texas!
Read on for a first-hand account from our Zucchini Czar from the Cece’s™ team adventure to Wholesome Harvest farms in Arizona and Mexico.
Chris Romano (aka Captain Vegetable) and I visited Wholesum Harvest’s headquarters in Nogales, Arizona, and took a road trip to one of their farms in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico.
Wholesum Harvest is deeply committed to quality produce, organics and sustainability. They are also Fair Trade Certified™ and are passionate about helping provide resources for their workers to improve their communities. In recent years, they’ve helped workers’ communities build local businesses, buy school buses, obtain healthcare coverage, secure loans for homes and land, and more.
The farm we visited in Hermosillo has been owned and operated by the Hernandez family for multiple generations. They grow zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, grapes and watermelon. A lot of that beautiful squash ends up as our Zucchini Spirals and Veggiccine®. We were given an extensive tour of the fields and their packing facility where we met many of their workers and were able to get hands-on with zucchini that was being packed just for us.
We enjoyed a couple great meals with the family, shared stories and experiences, and went to a baseball game between the local team, the Naranjeros, and their rivals, the Tomateros.
It was a pleasure spending time with a company that we love like Wholesum and an honor to meet the folks responsible for providing us with some of the best food in the world. I can’t wait for our next visit.
—Russell Cullen, Zucchini Czar at Cece’s™ Veggie Co.
Back in Texas a few months later, Kristina Luna and Francisco Parra came to visit the Cece’s Veggie Co. production facility, and were kind enough to sit down with us for a few minutes to tell us more about the organization and give us further insight into organic produce sales and fair trade agriculture.
Kristina Luna is the Sales Manager at Wholesum Harvest, and she has been with the company for six years. She started in the produce industry right out of college, and on her path found that she was passionate about organics and fair working conditions.
“It was sort of a match made in heaven,” said Luna, who said that after hearing about the fair trade journey and the values of the company from one of the owners, Ricardo Crisantes, she knew it was a place she wanted to work. “Fair trade is a value that is deeply ingrained in our company culture,” she said.
Kristina’s favorite part of her role is the dynamic nature of the industry, which she says is always fun. “I particularly like working directly with the growers on supply and programs, and it really gives me a good vision for what our future is at Wholesum and where we are growing to. It’s fun, and it’s challenging but it’s an exciting part of the job.”
Francisco Parra, who is also on the Wholesum Harvest sales team, has been with the organization for 4 years. His favorite part of the role is that he gets to interact directly with lots of different kinds of people, from sustainable farmers to food manufacturers like Cece’s Veggie Co. “It’s never boring! Every day is different, said Parra.”
Francisco joined the Wholesum team after 15 years in retail on the buying side. He saw the growing opportunity emerging in organics, and many of his colleagues in the industry suggested that Wholesum Harvest was the place to be. “The company has a great reputation,” he said.
Wholesum Harvest has been family-owned and operated for 3 generations. Learn more about the family behind Wholesum Harvest here.