Real stories from our organic farms
We couldn’t do what we do at Florida Crystals without the passionate commitment of each and every one of our farmers. It takes long hours, dedication to getting it right, and above all, it takes heart. We spoke with a few of our amazing farmers to find out more about the enduring love they have for farming organic.
Meet Our Farmers
FedericoFor nearly 26 years, Federico has called Florida Crystals his home, and the people he works with, his family. Coming from a long line of sugarcane farmers, there was never any question this would be his life’s work and where he would find the most reward. Today, as a Farm Manager, he takes special pride in the organic farming operation he helps run. Though it takes more attention and care to grow organic, Federico says he loves the challenge of growing what others grow, but doing it without conventional fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides.
LuigiLuigi’s path to Florida Crystals was anything but typical. While he spent his early years farming in several countries, the lure of the big city and a power career later landed him in Chicago with a master’s degree, and eventually a career as a commodities trader. You can’t take the farm out of the boy though. Realizing true happiness was not behind a desk, but on a farm, he left to return to his roots by becoming a Farm Director at Florida Crystals. “What really matters is doing something you like,” says Luigi.
Juan“I like everything I do.” Many people can’t say that after 28 years of doing the same thing, but then you have to know Juan. After a short time working in a packaging plant where he felt closed in, Juan found freedom working on farms and never turned back. Farming organic sugarcane matters to him because there are no synthetic materials involved, plus he gets to be more creative finding other ways to control weeds. He clearly likes what he does because he arrives at 5:30 every morning to have a cup of coffee while enjoying the calm of the farm.
Maria“I love it. I love it. I’d rather be at work than at home.” Talk to Maria, a farmer at Florida Crystals, and you will quickly find out farming is her life-long passion. Her fond memories go all the way back to childhood when she would get up early to help her father farm corn. She remembers having to plant by hand and thresh with horses, but the hard work clearly didn’t deter her. She has made a career of farming everything from vegetables to beans to grass, and now sugarcane for the last 12 years here at Florida Crystals.