Our company was set up as a cooperative, as a result of the major pricing crisis of 1992. A small group of growers joined forces, seeking strength in unity, to be able to market their produce better and reach the market directly, trying to make selling their fruit profitable.
The cooperative subcontracted a small space in the premises of a sales company which had production capacity available and started to make their dream a reality. For the first time, the farmer-members sold their produce on the market together, and that way, they began a joint journey that would continue to the present day.
After 4 years of increasing the number of members and being recognised by the Organisation of Growers, the company built its first premises. The facilities were minimal but necessary, with a surface area of 2,000 m2, where the fruit could be handled with its own resources for the first time.
This step was key to the company’s future because, having to form its own organisational structure, it enabled the foundations to be laid to build the future; the commitment to quality and the continuous improvement of processes, making the company and its infrastructure sustainable and attractive to its customers.
The cooperative and its members had, during their brief history, had a clear vocation for producing yellow peaches (the most traditional of Cieza and of the company’s products). However, they saw that their crop began to expand to other growing areas which would soon become competition and that jam factories (one of the main customers that produced syrup as well as other famous peach products), would enter a long crisis resulting from globalisation and the changes in consumer tastes, that would last to this day.
Growing yellow peaches started to become less and less profitable and growers started to grow other different produce to be able to support their families and maintain their farms. The new produce includes early May and June varieties of apricot, red peach, flat peach and nectarine, which were harvested during a time slot where competition from other regions was less aggressive and where sales prices enabled growers to continue growing without the competition pushing them out of the market.
After a rapid growth in volume, the company started to demand an increasing amount of production resources and significantly extended its premises, from 2000 m2 to 8000 m2. The expansion was required in order to be able to adapt to the new demands of the market and their farm calendars.
The members powered the growth of varieties of modern and more attractive fruits for the market, with more and better qualities such as the colouring, flavour and yield per hectare. This began a modernisation and adaptation process towards the new markets that have, to this day, been one of the company’s distinguishing features.
La Vega de Cieza incorporated the Bright Red Kaki into its product portfolio. The Kaki enabled the company to develop a counter-seasonal activity to the stone fruit, managing to maintain a close relationship with the market in the autumn and winter months, as well as reducing the seasonability of part of its workforce. This would make the company stronger and with more engaged workers.
By working methodically and rigorously, the company began to establish a very stable relationship with farmers (mainly from Valencia) that owned first-rate farms and which met the maximum quality guarantees. A quality starting in the field and maintained throughout the entire production process until it is sold to the customer.
As a result of the sustained growth, the cooperative saw a greater need to look after some of their customers and all of their members, and redesign their production and commercial plans. At this time, the activity was diversified with a second warehouse in the neighbouring town of Abarán. This involved new premises with a surface area of more than 3000 m2, which would enable the company to continue growing in a balanced way, always providing the best service and best product.
Nowadays, this plant and the company’s entire premises make up a surface area of 12000 m2, making it possible to handle and market all of the company’s produce to a high quality.
With a clear growth in demand and consumer awareness of more eco-friendly products, in 2014, the company and its members developed a complete portfolio of organic stone fruits and production lines to be able to adapt the produce more efficiently to market demand.
In 2018, this own organic production was marketed for the first time, with the backing of business allies and specialist farmers, enabling 500Tns of a complete range of products to be offered in 2021 throughout 4 months of the summer season. A volume which continues to grow to this day, while the positive reputation of our organic product on the market also grows.
The company has established a volume of 21,000 Tns of different stone fruits, mainly conventional but also organic. It also produces 2,500 Tns of Kaki and has a stable workforce of specialists that take utmost care of the produce and optimise the processes so that members obtain the best yield for their produce and crops. All of these resources offer the company’s customers a secure supply option, with high quality and punctuality 12 months of the year.