FreshMex General Manager Oscar Woltman Talks 10th Anniversary Celebration
- by Jordan Okumura
QUERÉTARO, MEXICO - Protected agriculture in Mexico has experienced unprecedented growth in recent years, and shows no signs of slowing. As we wind down 2017 and ramp up for the New Year, bell pepper grower, packer, and shipper FreshMex is celebrating 10 years of growth and a renewed commitment to evolving the Mexican greenhouse sector.
To commemorate the anniversary, the company recently welcomed guests to its facility in October to meet the team and share in the celebration. FreshMex General Manager and current President of AMHPAC Oscar Woltman, joins me as we move into November, to discuss what 10 years has brought to FreshMex and the milestones that have paved its way.
“Operating 7.5 hectares of Venlo greenhouses in Querétaro, Mexico’s Agropark, FreshMex has been exporting worldwide since 2007 through our parent company, Levarht,” Oscar shares with me, adding that FreshMex offers the unique position of being situated inside an agro-industrial park that specializes in the production of vegetables with high exportation quality, as well as providing one of our industry’s hubs for ultra high-tech glass greenhouses. “It has been a quick and exciting 10 years, and our progressive vision has helped us bring high-quality greenhouse produce to the global marketplace.”
The groundbreaking for the operation began in March 2007 and quickly arrived at completion by September 2007. The first harvest kicked off on December 12, 2007, and as Oscar tells me, they were blessed from the beginning, as the 12th is the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico.
“Not many glass greenhouses in Mexico produce peppers,” Oscar says. “We have created alliances with several other greenhouses to train, select, pack, and export their certified produce in addition to our own–this has helped not only FreshMex grow, but the region as a whole. Our relationship with local producers is based on shared values and strategy, knowledge transfer, transparency, and honesty.”
And when it comes to growth, FreshMex has the numbers to tell the tale. FreshMex sales have grown by 400% in 10 years, and almost 10% of the personnel have worked for the company for 10 years now.
“We stimulate employee development in technical training and development as well as emotional knowledge,” Oscar adds. “And in 2017 we also completed a new project with 2.5 hectares.”
FreshMex is GLOBAL G.A.P., WCA, Primus, Senasica, CTPAT and NECC certified.
“As a Dutch-owned company, we use 100% Dutch technology throughout the process which enhances the quality and taste of our products,” he tells me. “The FreshMex production process is in compliance with the more demanding food safety and quality standard programs.”
Since 2012 FreshMex has also been a member of AMHPAC, the Mexican protected agriculture association, which has 230 members with an annual export value of $1.3 billion USD. Oscar has been a member of the council since 2013 and President of the AMHPAC council since 2016.
Congratulations FreshMex, on 10 years of growth and evolution, and cheers to the exciting road ahead!