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Under the Sinaloan Stars

Under the Sinaloan Stars

When wandering the produce aisle, it can be easy to get lost in the smorgasbord of fruits and vegetables on display. Vibrant red bell peppers, flashy orange carrots, or cucumbers glistening amongst the greens, for example, quickly catch our eyes and make our mouths water. We are instinctively drawn to the finished product of the fields. But what if we went back further? All the way back to when the seed touches the soil.

The story of any produce item begins with the land in which the seed is planted. Any grower can tell you it is the growing region that can make or break a crop—all the compostable packaging and snazzy new varieties in the world mean nothing if the produce itself didn’t get the nourishment it needed from the land from which it came.

Sinaloa, Mexico, is a region well-known to those in the produce industry as a lush landscape of prime growing space with a local and international workforce dedicated to maintaining high-quality standards. But, the area is also home to Sinaloa Encanta, the yearly event that showcases the region and all it has to offer. Last October, in its sixth consecutive year, Sinaloa Encanta enchanted thousands of produce industry attendees over its two days of informative talks, field and facility tours, networking, and celebrations. As I spoke with the event’s President, Eduardo Leyson, I began to see how Sinaloa Encanta has something for industry members all across the supply chain. And, as he described the festivities, I found myself eager to pencil the event into this year’s calendar.

“Sinaloa Encanta is the only event in Northwestern Mexico that has managed to summon all the protagonists of the food chain,” Eduardo said. “Without a doubt, it is the sum of many efforts aimed at giving greater attention to a state where, every day, we work to gain a foothold in the future and lay the foundation for development.”

Eduardo informed me that 30 percent of food production nationwide comes from the Sinaloa region, so developing an event to honor and illustrate the agriculture, cuisine, and culture that is inherent to the area feels like a natural move. Each year, Sinaloa Encanta continues to grow and demonstrate its worth in the produce industry, and in its sixth year, the turnout was better than ever.

Sinaloa Encanta may change its location, it may bring hundreds of artists, but its objective, vision, and values will be the same—letting the world know what Sinaloa really is and the value of its hard-working people.
—Eduardo Leyson, President, Sinaloa Encanta

“Attendance exceeded expectations compared to last year—2,134 people gathered to enjoy this great event. The business meetings were also a huge success—56 meetings were counted and in one night 20 negotiations were closed, mainly between foreign buyers and agricultural producers, as well as restaurateurs and wine houses from the country,” Eduardo proudly relayed.

While the event’s networking day proved to be very advantageous for many industry members, Sinaloa Encanta was a golden opportunity for all who attended. Even those who were unable to close a deal at the networking event did not walk away empty-handed—the day’s activity included multiple presentations that informed attendees about how Mexico, and Sinaloa specifically, fit into the evolving world of produce. Bosco de la Vega Valladolid, President of the National Agricultural Council, addressed the “Challenges and Opportunities of the Agri-Food Sector of Mexico;” while Dr. Gabriel Reynoso Castillo, Professor in the Decision Analysis Department of IPADE Business School, presented a talk on the topic of “Innovation and Technology as a Strategic Ally in the Agri-Food Sector;” and Luis Gutierrez Mazzotti, Northwest Regional Coordinator of the Financiera Nacional de Desarrollo, Inq., spoke to attendees about the new system of financing rural development. All three brought extensive wisdom and expertise to their illuminating presentations.

Sinaloa Encanta is an industry-wide event that features the inner workings of the business of fresh produce. The National Agricultural Council even held its monthly session here, which was attended by about 150 industry members who gathered to address the various issues that impact the food chain.

Those seeking to get a first-hand look at the Sinaloa growing region were treated to the event’s traditional Field Visit, this year hosted by Valores Horticolas del Pacifico, a farm owned by Ioannis Stabropulos. There, tour-goers learned about the innovation, quality, safety, and social responsibility that is the hallmark of the region.

Sinaloa Encanta wrapped up with a night to remember for all who attended—a night that included the very best of the Sinaloan gastronomy, singing, dancing, and Eduardo’s parting thoughts about the many qualities that make Sinaloa so extraordinary. As performers María José and Edith Márquez played their final notes, all in attendance could feel that they were a part of something special.

“Since that day, we have not stopped receiving congratulations and positive comments about the event—people left happy and eager to return next year,” Eduardo commented.

He was tight-lipped about the details of Sinaloa Encanta 2020, but he still left me with an understanding for the unique space that the event and the Sinaloa growing region occupy in our industry.

Attendance exceeded expectations compared to last year—2,134 people gathered to enjoy this great event.

“Sinaloa Encanta is here to stay, and all of us who are part of the organizing committee will do it with more desire and more dynamism to continue having the success that we have achieved so far,” he concluded. “Sinaloa Encanta may change its location, it may bring hundreds of artists, but its objective, vision, and values will be the same—letting the world know what Sinaloa really is and the value of its hard-working people.”

When an event wraps up and the dust (or perhaps confetti?) settles, each participant walks away with a Rolodex of memories and new knowledge that can shape and evolve their entire outlook on the industry. The celebration and merriment on Sinaloa Encanta’s final night continued into the wee hours of the morning, but the unforgettable experience offered more than just festivities.

Showcasing the Sinaloa region was the driving force of the entire event, and through a mixture of industry and cultural education, first-hand experience, and the lush land of Sinaloa itself as a backdrop, guests walked away with an appreciation and understanding of one of the most important growing regions on the continent.

And, of course, memories that will last a lifetime.