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Organics Unlimited roots run deep in organic bananas

Organics Unlimited is a preeminent grower and distributor of organic bananas in North America and has been a leader in the marketplace since it started operation in 2000.

“We have been growing organic since day one because it produces the healthiest, best-tasting banana as well as being the safest thing for farmers, consumers, communities surrounding our farms and for the environment,” said Mayra Velazquez de Leon, president and founder of the San Diego, CA-based company.

Mayra-FarmMayra Velazquez de LeonThe company grows and harvests to order and distributes organic tropical fruit, including Cavendish bananas, plantains and coconuts. Its San Diego warehouse, located in Otay Mesa along the U.S.-Mexico border, handles more than 30,000 cases of organic bananas each week.

Organics Unlimited has also added new farmland in Colima, Mexico, over the past few years and now has 1,865 acres of land available to accommodate current and future customer demand.  

“With four generations of family organic banana growing experience, you could truly say that our roots run down in organic produce,” Velazquez de Leon said. “My father grew the first commercial organic bananas to come to the United States in 1978. The Organics Unlimited family is an early pioneer in the organic movement and is one of the original players in the Colima growing region of Mexico.”

Over the years, a desire by consumers for clean food has driven-double digit growth in the organic sector, which has culminated in organic becoming the new normal. The challenge, Velazquez de Leon said, is to continue education on the true, fair price of organic produce, the additional costs associated with ensuring pesticide-free food, and making sure organic growers are fairly compensated for the invaluable work they do.

“Our company always strives to provide our customers with what is most important to them to grow the organic fresh produce segment,” she said. “To increase sales, we make sure to communicate with consumers that they are buying the freshest, healthiest bananas which are USDA certified organic as well as JAS, Primus and Global GAP certified.”

Organics Unlimited understands that consumers expect high quality, fresh tasting, organic bananas all year long, and thanks to its organic farms in Mexico and Ecuador, the company is able to quickly and reliably deliver organic bananas to consumers in the U.S., Canada and Japan while minimizing its carbon footprint.

“Consistency and reliability are the main ingredients for being successful in organic produce,” Velazquez de Leon said. “Through the years, it has also become clear just how important sustainable, socially responsible practices are to consumers. Being directly in line with our commitment to the environment, social responsibility and the community, we have boosted efforts to expand our GROW program, which provides resources and opportunities to the growing communities.”

Sales have been strong this year for the company and its organic banana availability has been steady.

The focus in 2019 has been on educating buyers, retailers and, ultimately, consumers about its fairly traded GROW label bananas and everything that goes into growing a sustainable, organic banana. GROW, which supports a network of small growers in Mexico, gives back to the organic banana growing regions through education and health care programs as well as disaster relief.

“Messaging on our updated labels offers an immediate way to let consumers know that when they are buying GROW, they can trust that they are buying a true fairly traded banana,” Velazquez de Leon said. “We are fully committed to providing premium quality organic bananas through a culture of sustainability, caring for our communities and excellence in customer service.”

Looking ahead, Organics Unlimited will be celebrating its 20th year of operation in 2020 and its GROW social responsibility program highlights 15 years of service in September.