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Sinaloa’s finest herb… at Whole Foods!

13 January 2009

We don’t only grow the type of herb you buy in the parking lot, you know.  Ernesto Montoya in El Debate de Los Mochis (my translation):

Tucked in among the mountains a small army of workers runs Sinaloa’s largest organic grower, which exports aromatic and medicinal herbs to markets in Europe and the United States

Unlike other parts of Sinaloa, produce here is organically grown. To date, 100 of the 300 hectare plot is dedicated to herbs, like red basil, chive, parsley, mint, rosemary, thyme, tarragon, and sage, among others. Harvest is expected in the first trimester of this year.

Eventually, organic fruit grains, cereals and vegetables are also to be planted. Like the herbs, these products will also be sold both nationally and exported to Europe, the United States and Japan.

Cuauhtémoc Rangel, the Chinobampo Farm Number Two’s director, said the project had two goals: fostering ecological awareness and developing products for the important international organic product market.

“The bulk of the market is still in Europe and the United States, though sale of organic food has expanded to Asia and here in Mexico,” Rangel said.

The key to increasing productivity to commercially viable levels has been the use of zeolite, an naturally occurring mineral used as a fertilizer. Compost also plays an important role in preparing the soil for these products.

Rangel commented the project has generated about five hundred jobs directly, and another seven hundred indirectly. It is income producing, but requires constant attention, planning and investment. However, the organic market is growing world-wide as people become more health-conscious. .

The farm is expanding into other ecologically-sound projects, building ponds to raise 100% organic bass and crawfish, as well as organic honey. For the bees to produce organic honey, the farm will have to grown organic fruit. All are meant for commercial sale.

Technical assistance for the project is provided in part by the University of Havana in Cuba, which Rangel said, “has much experience with zeolite, and with which we constantly are exchanging information about our experience with the material.”

Convinced of which it is doing, Rangel it emphasized that it is receiving technological support on the part of the University of Havana in Cuba. “Between the University of Havana and we have experienced many things with zeolíta, in addition to a constant interchange of experience in the matter”.

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