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OPN Connect Newsletter 200 · January 14, 2021

Wholesum Nourishing a Healthy World


Wholesum, a certified organic produce grower and distributor, has been shaped by three generations. The company's beginning dates back to the 1930s when family pioneer Miguel Crisantes Gatzionis migrated from Greece to Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico and began farming on a humble plot of land. When Miguel passed down the farm to his son, Theojary Crisantes, Sr., years later, it was accompanied by a deep love of agriculture and respect for the land and the people working on the farms.

Wholesum family members Ricardo Crisantes, Theojary Crisantes, Jonathan Alarcon, and Theo Crisantes

Stemilt January 2021

“It was then when the company began to take form into what it is today,” said Joanna Jaramillo, marketing specialist for the Amado, AZ-based company. “Theojary is a passionate, dedicated and educated agronomist. In the ’60s, he was fresh out of UC Davis and deeply moved by Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, the book that began planting the seed of the modern environmental movement.”

Determined and inspired, Crisantes began to explore growing methods that promote human well-being and ecological balance. In 1992, he obtained organic certification for the farms.

“Theojary is a passionate, dedicated and educated agronomist. In the ’60s, he was fresh out of UC Davis and deeply moved by Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, the book that began planting the seed of the modern environmental movement.” -Joanna Jaramillo

“It was a challenging time when organics did not have much presence in the market, and there was no written recipe for successfully growing organically,” Jaramillo said. “However, his determination to create a more noble food system for a healthier world outweighed any challenges. This is what fueled Wholesum’s purpose. It is that passion and determination that serve as our foundation to be problem solvers and leaders in the organic industry.”

Chelan Fresh January 2021

Joanna Jaramillo, Marketing Specialist, Wholesum 

Today, the company’s product repertoire includes organic tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, bell peppers, and eggplant.

“Wholesum is fueled by the purpose to nourish a healthy world,” Jaramillo said. “We believe that when food is grown right, it is uplifting for people and the planet. That’s why we want to make organics accessible, to lead production and supply of responsibly grown organic food that brings value to all."

Valent January 2021

Wholesum Farms in Amado, Arizona

For years, Wholesum has dedicated its efforts to growing a market for Fair Trade Certified, organic fresh produce.

“Through these efforts, we have built an equitable and sustainable supply chain that benefits all our stakeholders,” said Ricardo Crisantes, chief commercial officer for the company. “We have invested in the latest and most appropriate technologies at our farms to maximize efficiencies and produce high-quality crops.”

Shenandoah Growers Jan2021

“We believe that when food is grown right, it is uplifting for people and the planet. That’s why we want to make organics accessible, to lead production and supply of responsibly grown organic food that brings value to all." -Joanna Jamarillo

Additionally, the company counts on a strong network of partner growers with the same vision and commitment to responsible agriculture.

“Together, we supply consistent, year-round programs of high-quality product,” Crisantes said. “This ability to pull through even during the rougher seasons helps strengthen relationships not only with customers, but it creates a win-win for our growers as well.”

Naturesafe January 2021

Ricardo Crisantes, Chief Commercial Officer, Wholesum

Through fair trade, the company has created and sustained opportunities in education and health and has improved the livelihood of more than 2,000 farmworkers through community development projects. And that number is even greater when factoring in the impact of its partner grower network.

“We strive to be the best at what we do, which is to grow and market 100-percent organic produce,” Jaramillo said. “We go above and beyond the requirements of organic growing and empower our team to ‘beat conventional.’ This means going beyond conventional thinking to overcome the challenges of organic agriculture through creativity and innovation to achieve better yields, quality, and flavor.”

“We have invested in the latest and most appropriate technologies at our farms to maximize efficiencies and produce high-quality crops.” -Ricardo Crisantes

By having a good assortment of value-added, packaged, specialty, and bulk produce in its catalogue, Wholesum is able to deliver on consumer preferences year-round.

Wholesum tomatoes in Imuris, Sonora, Mexico

“Aside from enhancing production, we are constantly working on ways to strengthen our distribution capabilities as well,” Jaramillo said. “We value our partnerships and nurture our industry relationships, providing deep industry knowledge, category leadership, and marketing support.”

Starr Ranch

In 2021, Wholesum plans to continue to enhance production in a responsible way, so it can better serve customers.

“We recently renovated our tomato greenhouses at our initial site in Culiacan, Mexico and have expansion plans set for the near future at our warehouse in Arizona and our facility in Northern Mexico, where we will add additional high-tech glass greenhouses for optimal production,” Jaramillo said. “We also plan to continue bringing value to our partners through increased support as leaders in our organic fresh produce categories.”

Global Organics Group January 2021

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