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Plain Jane expanding operations in Mexico

Plain Jane Produce, a leading North American greenhouse vegetable grower and supplier, has begun a new greenhouse operation in Nayarit, Mexico, with plans to expand acreage tenfold in the next two years.

According to an Oct. 5 press release, the company will open 25 covered acres in Nayarit this month with plans to expand the facility to 250 covered acres over the next two years. New operations in Nayarit will allow Plain Jane to offer freshly harvested tomatoes to the market during the fall growing season, September through January.

With Nayarit, Plain Jane also expands its distribution reach with a U.S. import point in McAllen, TX, giving Plain Jane easier access to markets in the eastern United States.

Currently, Plain Jane's imports originate in the United States through Nogales, AZ, and its vegetables are sold to retail grocery chains and restaurants across the country. Besides tomatoes, Plain Jane grows colored Bell peppers and seedless cucumbers.

The Nayarit expansion is made possible through $40 million in growth capital and an $8 million credit line secured by Plain Jane that allows for strategic growth of its farming operations. The financing will allow Plain Jane to build greenhouses, add to its existing acreage and create 1,000 new jobs over the next two years. The expansion represents an increase in farming capacity of more than 30 percent from current levels and enables Plain Jane to expand its greenhouse vegetable production to more than 8.6 million cartons per year.

The Nayarit location joins Plain Jane’s current greenhouse operation in nearby Sinaloa, Mexico — a 750-acre covered greenhouse facility, which produces vegetables from December through June and employs more than 2,000 workers.

"We have reached some impressive milestones over the past two years, and we are looking to carry that momentum forward by using our recently secured capital," Alejandro Canelos Jr., Plain Jane’s founding partner and chief operating officer and a Tucson, AZ, resident, said in the press release.

Mr. Canelos Jr. manages Plain Jane with founding partner J. Fife Symington IV of Phoenix.

“We are pleased that amid a sluggish economy, where capital has been scarce, our continued success and business model prove attractive for international investors,” Mr. Canelos Jr. added in the press release.

Plain Jane launched in 2007 following its breakaway from the “Chiquita” label. Plain Jane’s strategic location in northwestern Mexico allows for the cost- effective transportation of the company’s products to the United States — its main distribution market.

Already an active contributor to communities in which it has greenhouse operations, the expansion also will allow for Plain Jane to continue providing housing for its seasonal workers and their families during the various growing seasons.

Additionally, Plain Jane operates a medical clinic and a school, and it provides daycare facilities for its workers. Plain Jane has been recognized by both the federal government in Mexico and local governments for its agricultural worker support programs.