Friday, January 10, 2014

Transformational Tomatoes

I know that I have friends (and perhaps other readers I'm unaware of) who are very conscious of where they spend their money. Not only are they concerned about getting the most for their dollar for themselves, but they are concerned that their dollars are making a difference. That the companies they support with their business are behaving responsibly in the world.

Allow me to introduce you to my husband's new company: NatureSweet Tomatoes.

NatureSweet makes the small, little tomatoes that you put on salads -- three varieties of them. When I started telling people who hubby was going to be working for, I couldn't believe how many of them said, "Oh, NatureSweet! That's the ONLY kind of tomato I'll buy." They're not the cheapest tomato in the store, but they're really that much better.

They are grown hydroponically, which means the product is more consistent since they aren't dependent on the ever-changing weather for the right conditions to grow. They're unique in another way. I don't know the technical side of this well enough to do it justice with my description, but their particular product is the result of grafting together (a painstaking process done by hand) two different types of tomato plants: one for its strong root system and another for its sweetness.

Really, some consistently tasty tomatoes here. Folks out there eat these things just by themselves, for an afternoon snack (which I would never have considered trying before). But there's more. Let me tell you the behind-the-scenes stories hubby has learned in the last few months, the stuff that isn't necessarily trumpeted to the public.

The guy who owns NatureSweet is a billionaire from previous business ventures. He had a ranch in Mexico and fell in love with the people there. But his heart broke for them because they lived in such poverty and had no hope of changing that where they were.

So, he went and bought this tomato company and turned it into what is now NatureSweet . . . with the specific goal of providing work for the poor in Mexico. They have five facilities in the Guadalajara area. The workers there make two or three times the going rate for agricultural workers in the area (the website states that 82% of their Mexican workers are paid above the living wage). This means that they have money to spend . . . which brings businesses into the communities . . . which results in increased economic stability for the area. (Again, from the website: home ownership for their Mexican employees increased by 20% in 2012.)

What's more, NatureSweet actively invests in adult education programs for their employees -- from primary school classes on up (and that tells you how low a lot of these people start from). These people are empowered. The grip the local drug dealers have on the community is lessened. And the need to leave home and travel north (legally or illegally) to find a way to make money and support the family is alleviated.

And the owner makes no money on this. All of his profits go back into the company to increase sales, build more facilities, employ more people.

All this to say, when you purchase NatureSweet tomatoes at your grocery store, you are not only getting a high quality product, but you are participating in the transformation of lives and communities.

AND . . . when you talk up NatureSweet tomatoes at the restaurants and club stores you frequent ("Are these NatureSweet tomatoes on your salad? Oh, NatureSweet tomatoes are the best. I'd be much more likely to buy a happy meal for my kiddo if you offered NatureSweet tomatoes as a side option . . . "), you also contribute to the economic future of your humble correspondent and her family.  :) 

1 comment:

Barb W said...

I really like these tomatoes and have some in my kitchen right now.