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Increased demand for high-quality produce a boon for Rene’s growth

RIO RICO, AZ — Consistent, conservative growth has worked for 53 years for Rene Produce, LLC, according to Jose Garcia, chief operating officer.

With roots in Culiacan, Rene expanded to the extreme northern reaches of Sinaloa 30 years ago. Fifteen years ago, Rene added production in Dimas, which is north of Mazatlán. About four years ago Rene extended again with a growing operation in the state of Jalisco. Jalisco’s high elevations — which bring cooler temperatures — are critical for Rene’s 12-month market presence.

“Our family of employees has grown to be north of 5,000 people,” said Garcia.

Rene’s tomatoes are hydroponically produced in greenhouses and the green and red bells and Euro cukes are pretty much all protected.

Jose-Garcia-ReneJose Garcia ReneGarcia said Rene increases its organic Roma production every year and the firm’s round and Roma tomatoes are available year-round.

“We stick to the same commodities,” Garcia said, although the firm expects to move into slicer cucumbers in 2018 and to have slicers year-round by 2019.

Garcia said Rene’s production is certified by SQF-2000, Rain Forest and as non-GMO. “We have all the tools needed for customers,” said Garcia.

For eight years, Rene has operated a forward-distribution center in McAllen, TX, although those sales are done from the Rio Rico, AZ, office. Rene is also increasing its presence in the domestic market. “We have our own company-owned operations in the three main terminal markets in Mexico,” said Garcia.

Garcia noted that “In the last 15 years, the middle class in Mexico has grown substantially. Their demand for high-quality fruits and vegetables has increased. In any given day, the national market might be higher-priced than it is for the States. This plays a huge role in Rene’s commercial strategy and the percent dedicated to the national market grows every year.”

Rene Produce has been a grower-owned, vertically-integrated company since the company was founded 53 years ago. “We take pride in that,” said Garcia. “When you buy from Rene, you buy from one grower, you get one label. When you work with Rene Produce, you know that you’ve talked to the same grower for the last 50 years.”

Garcia added that Rene has a great deal of continuity. Jaime Hernandez has been with Rene for 12 years. Salesman Kiko Moreno has been with Rene for 32 years. Robert Rojas, once left the firm but has been back in his sales position for five years and Veronica Castréjon has been with Rene for a decade. Garcia and Rene Carrillo, Jr., the son of the company founder, both joined Rene 23 years ago.