Hector Rendon's pineapple grove is certainly a story of hope, sweat, perseverance and success. This will be Hector's eighth season as a Certified Organic pineapple grower. He farms on the shores of a beautiful isolated wetland paradise, located on the border of Vera Cruz and Oaxaca, Mexico. The farm is a haven for indigenous flora and fauna. The Rendon's have more than 25 species of trees. Roberto Rendon, Hector's brother, works for the United Nations as a coordinator for sustainable food production in Mexico. He has a PhD in Agronomy and has been a great resource to Hector in his decision to convert all of his production to organic. They share a deep passion for preserving the biodiversity of their land. The farm is a rich part of their heritage that has been passed down to them from their grandfather and father.

The farm is located in Loma Bonita, Oaxaca (the beautiful hill). Loma Bonita calls itself the pineapple capitol of Mexico. The municipal emblem is the pineapple. The municipal plaza surrounds a 30 foot pineapple fountain. With 9,000 acres of pineapples grown in this region, Hector's project represents the only area Certified Organic acreage. His family and neighbors are watching his project with great interest. Loma Bonita is one a several major pineapple production areas in southern Mexico. Key production areas include, Michoacan, Vera Cruz and Tabasco.

After experimenting in different growing areas over the last twelve years, we have chosen to focus exclusively on Loma Bonita, Oaxaca. This region was chosen due to the extraordinary qualities of the fruit grown in this area. The intense levels of sunshine and sandy loam soil this area is noted for, infuses the pineapples with a higher sugar level than any other location. Hector's grove currently covers 16 acres. This will support one load of export quality fruit each week. The harvest begins in early November and continues through July. Hector intends to add about 50% production a year over the next 4 years until reaching approximately 50 acres by 2014. Patagonia Orchards has partnered with Hector, assisting with production costs and converting the grove from Cayena Lisa variety to MD2 Golds in 2004.

As we walk the land, Hector and Robert point out with enthusiasm some of the features of the grove. Legumes have been heavily planted as a cover crop fixing the ground with nitrogen. Verde Laga plants are growing throughout the area indicating well-balanced soil and the absence of herbicides for many years. Robert eagerly shows us some trees that have been part of this landscape for over 100 years. As you gaze to the east you see the lake, Plan De Los Lagos, hugging the grove's western side. The lake and the surrounding jungle support a tremendous wildlife profile, including a healthy population of alligators. The sights and sounds of nearly 100 species of birds create a magical dimension of time and space that is very difficult to convey. Patagonia Orchards will be there for Hector Rendon and his family as they take their pineapple production to the next level.
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