Organics Unlimited's Mayra Velasquez Talks Growth, Demand, and Distribution
- by Melissa De Leon Chavez
SAN DIEGO, CA - The cat is out of the bag and prancing around: the organic wave is here to stay. Organics Unlimited, one of the earlier parties to embrace the practice, has responded with growing acreage and even more sustainable moves in infrastructure and energy.
“We’ve had quite a bit going on,” President and CEO Mayra Velasquez de Leon tells me. “We are currently remodeling our San Diego offices, and we’ve installed a solar energy system that we got up and running just before the New Year.”
It is all in the plans to broaden Organics Unlimited’s reach as growing organically becomes increasingly popular. It’s a trend that has many rewards for growers, but Mayra and her team are actively keeping grounded in the mission behind the method.
“We pride ourselves on making sure that we are doing this right and for the right price,” she shares, explaining that the excitement for the trend does not change the cost of its production. “I love that organics is in the mainstream, that’s beautiful. But you don’t get organic from one day to the other. It takes three years to get there, so your inputs are more expensive and cannot be sold as conventional. My hope as organic demand continues to grow is that buyers understand the costs to growers.”
Organics Unlimited knows this from both sides of the coin—not only growing some of its own organic product, but also acting as distributor to both Canadian and Japanese markets.
“We’re distributors, but we’re also growers and can see what’s happening on pricing and beyond. It’s not just about money, it’s about what we’re eating,” she shares. “We see the shift in prices and accessibility on the consumer side, which is good. It brings us into the mainstream, which is good for everyone.”
But for a premium product comes a premium price, as Organics Unlimited looks not only to take care of its partners and customers, but also its growers. Mayda shares that this is a key thing to keep in mind as the organic industry continues to scale upward.
When I ask her about the most exciting part of the category’s skyrocketing popularity, she is, in a word, bubbly.
“Supermarkets nowadays all have an organic section, which is wonderful! Consumers are asking for organics more, and so we are seeing the combination of the two industries as more growers try to change and shift to accommodate organic,” she shares.
Much like specialty, niche, and private purveyors know, sometimes the beauty of a purchase is its exclusivity. AndNowUKnow will continue to monitor this and all other trends pushing produce forward.