Divine Flavor is planning on spreading the message of its sustainability efforts at July's Organic Produce Summit (OPS) in Monterey, California. The company is one of the founding exhibitors of OPS and is also a sponsor. For them, this particular event is special as it is closest to the company's philosophy on environmental issues, stemming from growing organically to providing a healthy and sustainable product while helping growers along the way.
"Attending the Organic Produce Summit is personal to the company," said Michael DuPuis of Divine Flavor. "We want to improve the whole supply chain process in the industry. One way to improve it is by producing non-chemical, all natural, sustainably grown organics. From the very beginning of our company’s journey, organics have been a standard practice. Before, many consumers weren’t even aware of the true meaning of organic. Divine Flavor has been invested in this process because it bestows optimal health for our consumers while contributing to the longevity of our ranches’ soils and environment. Besides getting the best flavor, our company philosophy is to produce a healthy product for optimal health."
"Being a company which primarily produces organic product, this creates the opportunity to promote ourselves as a sustainable grower," he continued. "Through organic practices, we’re able to have less of an impact on the soils and the environment in general. This also leads to better practices at the facility level- using less water with drip irrigation, teaching workers how to better reuse, recycle, and reduce, and the creation of green areas within the ranches. The theme of sustainability is a part of our DNA and growing organic product gives us a great platform with our customers, trade shows, and events such as OPS."
Internal sustainability audits begin shortly
In the coming weeks, Divine Flavor will start conducting internal sustainability audits in an effort to promote responsible agriculture within the company and alongside other growing partners. All related to a 6 pillar campaign introduced last October, the grower/shipper will begin validating their processes with all of their ranches under the Rainforest Alliance certification which specializes is social and sustainable areas.
“We are already a very sustainable company,” says Raul Diaz, Manager of Continuous Improvement, who is coordinating and preparing the processes. “Our packing houses are powered by the energy generated from the solar panels installed at the production facilities. We’ve reduced our water usage significantly by installing drip irrigation, as well as improving our soils from the crop rotation and organic production.”
“By growing more organic product, our soils are less affected by synthetic chemicals such as pesticides and insecticides which are commonly used on conventional product." Diaz explains as of now, most of the production from the Grupo Alta/Divine Flavor ranches is organic, which is a major contribution to protecting the soil and being sustainable.
Divine Flavor said its efforts are concentrated on providing its consumers environmentally friendly products while preserving water and carefully managing the soils the produce is grown in, viewing it as the company's "responsibility". When asked about the progress their company is making on this, Diaz replied, “Right now, we’re on the road to perusing better sustainable agriculture. We’re changing all of our processes to be more environmental and introducing tools to help us keep track of our practices more carefully. The most important factors are determining the sustainable areas we already have and how to properly document and evaluate it."
The company said it already implements many ecological practices such as green areas for the workers, waste management systems, but Diaz explains the reasoning is fueled by a bigger picture. “Sustainable agriculture is more than growing an environmentally friendly product for the consumer, but also, it’s for us to be an example to the industry and help restore the earth’s natural resources by validating the process with a certification."
New product on show
More than the sustainability message, Divine Flavor also plans on discussing some of their current and upcoming programs. This includes one of the new products the company recently announced - the Magnifico grape tomato.
"As we grow as a company, we’re always introducing new things such as products, packing design, etc," DuPuis shared. "One of those is our new product, Magnifico, which is one of the sweetest grape tomatoes to ever hit the market. It took us time, but through great effort, we are able to achieve this product which will be available 365 days a year."
"Before anyone really knew about this event, we cared then as much as we do now," he concluded. "Being a sponsor of this year’s OPS and one of the founding exhibitors, we’re always looking to be more committed and involved each year. Throughout this whole organic movement, growing organic and sustainable fruits and vegetables has always been a very important theme for Divine Flavor. We’re very happy to be a part of it."