The entry into the organic value-added retail marketplace of Salinas-based Ippolito International is a logical next step for this second-generation farming company. After supplying a sister company in Canada with raw organic product for the past 10 years---- and opening a state-of-the-art value-added facility in Salinas---- Ippolito took the natural next step and introduced its new line of organic salads at this month’s Organic Produce Summit.
Dan Canales, senior vice president of sales, marketing and processing, said the company’s expansion into organic was a natural fit as Ippolito has grown into one of the major players in the Salinas Valley on the commodity side. Ippolito was able to enter the organic market without the requisite three-year waiting period to convert conventional fields to organic via long-standing growing partners who have substantial existing organic acreage. Ippolito works closely with these partners in order to match its needs seasonally, on a yearly basis, and long-term, Canales said.
The new organic product line dovetails into the company’s ongoing sustainability efforts to reduce use of resources, increase efficiencies, and employ sound business management practices in both organic and conventional lines of products. Ippolito’s Sustainability Self-Assessment, formalized in 2015, includes such areas as crop protection and integrated pest management, ecosystems and biodiversity, and management of energy, fertilizers, soil, waste, and water.
“Our sustainability efforts and the organic program both are helping meet the demands of our environmentally conscious buyers and consumers,” said Canales. “As a supplier of both organic and conventional, our approach is the same for each – be as efficient as possible with our resources, take care of our employees, and save money. These are the right things to do.”
The timing of Ippolito’s organic program, along with its sustainability efforts, represents a conscious decision to be relevant in the marketplace and to do the right thing. Canales said, “our efforts in sustainability and the new organic line came together at the same time for different reasons. We are fortunate to have a customer base that continues to challenge us with requirements and efforts while giving us the business opportunities that come with that commitment and follow through.”
Ippolito’s initial launch in July 2017 includes organic salad basics – spring mix, kale blend, 50/50 blend, spinach, baby kale, arugula – in 5 oz., 11 oz., and 16 oz. clamshells.