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La Pitahaya or the Dragon Fruit July 2, 2007

Posted by adrien in Fruits & Vegetables.
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Finally the rain has come (with almost a month late) and so has come a bit of freshness. Thanks God because it started to be very, very hot those last days.

Along with the rains has come also the first dragon fruits of the season.
The Pitahaya is a fruit of a cactus belonging to the Hylocereus family and originated from central and South America. I’ve heard that a French naturalist brought it with him to Indochina in the 19th century. (I remember there was a Hylocereus cactus on the balcony of my Grand-Ma’s house in Nha Trang, and we kids were forbidden to go near the cactus and touch the fruits, which were destinated to be on the ancestor’ altar. And what is on the ancestors’ altar is sacred). Now a day, Vietnam is the first dragon fruit producer and exporter of the world. Actually, the Pitahaya name in Vietnamese is Thanh Long, which means “fruit of the Dragon”. Some also call it in English strawberry pear.

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We started to make our pitahaya field five years ago. Natives of Bahia de Banderas know better Tuna (the nopal cactus fruit) or Pitaya (which is like the dragon fruit but smaller and yellow outside) but there was almost no dragon fruit here. I have seen a few times Hylocereus Cactus in the jungle but it will cost us a lot of works to get the fruit, unless we are monkeys or birds. As a matter of fact, the hylocereus cactus is thin and flexible so it needs a tutor to grow up to reach the sun. Thus, the flowers and fruits are up to 100 feet high in natural state.

The flower of the Dragon Fruit is precious. It is about 15 cm long and can reach 30 cm of diameter. But as all beauties are ephemeral, the hylocereus flower blossoms at night and start to die with the first sunrays. So the best time to go on a Dragon fruits field is at 6 in the morning.

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You can find Dragon fruits in Vallarta from the end of May to November in Fruit Forest (the mother company of Fruit Forest in Guadalajara: H&C Global distributes our Dragon Fruits) but I have notices some pitahaya this year at Soriana in front of Sam’s Club.

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In our fields, there are 3 cactus which give fruit with red pulp. The taste is lightly sweeter then the regular fruit but it is aesthetically less interesting.

July 1, 2007

Posted by adrien in News & Events.
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Agricola Vimex July 1, 2007

Posted by adrien in Uncategorized.
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If there wasn’t Agricola Vimex, there wouldn’t be Bai Sri.

Growing organically and exclusively more than 25 South East Asian crops for Bai Sri, Agricola Vimex and its sisters companies Agricola Sapa and Agricola Dalong also ship out weekly around 80 000 lbs of asian herbs and almost the same weight in tropical fruits to Los Angeles, Houston, San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver…

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Founded twelve years ago by my Uncle Chuyet and his friend Toai, two late fifties ingeneers victims of the economic downturn of the early 90’s. The path that took A. Vimex during the first seven years was very winding and almost lead them to bankruptcy. Then Toai, who was the Agronome Engineer, unfortunately passed over, Chuyet, alone, continued to loose money for two other years.

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I came from France to Puerto Vallarta in 2002 to take over Agricola Vimex and I realized that the task which was awaiting for me will be a real challenge. There were none structures in the company, it is very hard to find workers (working on the fileds under the sun of Puerto Vallarta is a tough task, and most of the people here prefered to work in hotels and resorts, where the salary is very low but the tips promising), the ones we got..some of them don’t even speak spanish, and responsability and professionalism in this laborship level are a sort of terra incognita. My first priority was creating Departments, assigning task and responsabilities, structuring sales, getting new clients, and the most important: giving to my workers the sens of responsablity, to make them like their jobs, to make their jobs a good one and make sure that they don’t want to loose it (I will talk about what I have done about it later on in another post). We have had very hard times but we have done also very hard works and with my Uncle’s experience, we made it. Today, Agricola Vimex is a big family of 160 persons, with the same interests, the same goal and trust toward each other. Today, I know that they won’t let me down and I am sure that they have the same feeling.

Nufar Basil & Opal Basil