view current print edition




Cris-P Produce rebrands as Wholesum Family Farms to reflect organic focus

by Rand Green | December 06, 2010
Cris-P Produce Co. Inc. in Nogales, AZ, which was incorporated in 1990, has changed its name to Wholesum Family Farms Inc. to better reflect the company's exclusive focus now, on organically grown produce as well as the fact that it is a family business and most of the produce the company handles is grown by family members.

The company has also launched a new label for its organic produce, "Wholesum Harvest," replacing the “Natura” organic label used previously.

When the company was first formed, the “Cris-P” name and label were appropriate, as “we sold a lot of conventional product” such as European cucumbers and peppers, and the image of crispness and freshness imparted by the name “really matched us well,” said Ricardo Crisantes, general manager of the company, in an interview with The Produce News Nov. 23.

But through the years, organic produce became an increasingly significant part of the company’s offerings, and eventually “it got to the point” that the company was handling only organic products and no conventional products, he said. “We became specialized in that segment and focused on becoming the best organic growers and marketers that we could be.”

There was “a little bit of disconnect” between the “Cris-P” name and the organic focus, he said. So the owners decided that it was time to re-brand the company. “We needed a new message, a new image that really drives that focus, drives that vision of what we wanted to become, and we felt that we needed to rebrand our image for the future.”

The image, they concluded, needed to represent “produce that is healthy” and also the fact that “we are a family company, three generations.”

The change was made officially Oct. 15 and was showcased at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit in October.

The Crisantes family farming business started in 1928 “with my grandfather, Miguel Crisantes, an immigrant from Greece who came first to Cuba and then to Mexico where he began farming in the Culiacan Valley,” Mr. Crisantes said. “My father [Theojary Crisantes] came into the business … in the 1960s.” Mr. Crisantes and his brothers Theo and Adrian came into the business in the late 1990s. “We have been continuously growing, year after year, with different commodities,” he said.

“My grandfather passed away in 1997, but my father is still involved in the business, mostly at the board level. My brothers are very much involved” on the farming side, each with his own farming operation, his own team, and his own area of specialization. “Adrian has specialized in growing tomatoes. Theo [in] cucumbers, [bell] peppers, egg plant and squash,” he said.

They do still grow some conventional product, but that is “more for contracts” and does not come through Wholesum, he said.”All the produce that I get here in this distribution center … is all organic.”

The company also handles organic produce from some outside growers who have certified organic farming operations, notably for mangos and Roma tomatoes.

The sales department is comprised of Steve LeFevre, sales manager, and Julio Lopez, with Karla Monteverde recently hired as sales coordinator.

Currently, the company is working on a new product line that will consist of prepackaged organics in compostable trays, Mr. Crisantes said. There is interest from the retail trade in having organic produce that can be scanned at the register “so that they don’t get the wrong pricing,” he said.