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Organics and social responsibility boost Borquez’ business

A century-old, fourth-generation Sonoran family business is now extending from being a grower to a fresh produce distributor.

The family patriarch, Pablo Borquez, with his sons Sergio and Alvaro, has created Borquez Exports LLC, which is in Scottsdale, AZ. “The goal is to excel in our services to retailers,” Borquez told The Produce News. “We aim for a direct business model that would allow for full transparency and lower costs.”

It was 100 years ago that “our family was part of a brave group that opened up the land of the Yaqui Valley. At that time they would have to courageously work the field by hand and use mules to perform many duties. They proudly develop what today is one of Mexico’s largest irrigation districts with over 250,000 hectares,” he said.

Borquez-asparagusAn asparagus field produced by Campos Borquez in Caborca, Sonora. Photo courtesy of Campos BorquezBorquez said his father, also named Pablo, lost the land during an agrarian reform. The Borquez family was forced to move north of Sonora, in Caborca.

Pablo Borquez 33 years ago, started his own business, Campos Borquez.

Campos Borquez started with 43 acres of asparagus. The firm grew to produce around 3 million packed boxes of asparagus, grapes and celery.

“We have exciting projects for each product and have also ventured aggressively into avocados for which we expect our first training crop next year with more volume exponentially thereafter.”

Borquez Exports will supply asparagus 12 months of the year with stronger volumes at peak seasons — Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Pablo Borquez has re-established a family production presence in Obregon, in the Yaqui Valley, as he promised his father he would do.

This prime southern location permits an early production of fresh Early Sweet grapes followed through the Sonoran grape deal with Sugar Drop (ARRA 30), and for red seedless, Flames and Passion Fire (ARRA 29). 

Borquez Exports’ celery program starts in December, running until the last week of April. The majority of the celery production is organic and is sold in various formats and packages.

Borquez stresses, “Our family and collaborators are deeply connected to the earth. We understand the importance of sustainable packaging to reduce the use of resources for an environmental impact. We are at the forefront of developing eco-friendly packaging solutions.”

In business dealings, “we are committed to strong, long term relationships based on trust, transparency, and loyalty. Our experience with direct retailers has proven to be successful for all parties involved.

“The direct feedback we receive from the consumer has allowed us to align our objectives, adapt to the demand and grow accordingly,” he said.

Borquez growing practices “strongly prioritize eating characteristics and shelf life beyond yield, which would be a shorter-term view for economic return. We have seen consistently positive results at the store level.

“We have also been able to connect with like-minded buyers and consumers to construct transformative social and environmental programs,” he continued. “For instance, as part of Fair Trade programs with Whole Foods, we were able to build a water supply system for the homes of over 1,300 people that had to walk six to eight hours a day to access potable water. These people work the land that feeds our consumers and their families. They travel from southern Mexico to work on harvests for three to six months of the year in our fields. We all wanted to make an impact — consumer, retailer, and farmers — and by working together we succeeded.”

He said, “Our commitment to social and environmental sustainability is rooted in the core of our business as we seek to ‘grow life-projects beyond any fruit or vegetable.’ To fulfill this mission, we have also partnered with Apeel Sciences and are increasing our organic certified lands throughout all of our products.”

Borquez Exports terms its employees “collaborators, which is a valuable word that we use internally and externally. It is deliberate as we believe we are all collaborating for a common goal instead of people working for other people. We all work together.”

Pablo Borquez is the firm’s CEO and head of sales. Sergio Borquez is the chief financial officer, and his brother, Alvaro, is sales executive.