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© Amway

Harvesting for NUTRILITE supplements

Nutrition & Wellbeing

Alberto Vega, manager of the NUTRILITETM farm in Mexico, talks plant health, sustainable farming and why harvesting at the right time is key to creating your NUTRILITE food supplements.

The breathtaking NUTRILITE farm in the Mexican state of Jalisco is known for its vast green fields and crisp morning air, which warms throughout the day. Because it is close to the equator, the farm boasts the ideal all-natural conditions for a variety of fruits, vegetables and herbs, including spinach, kale, watercress, alfalfa, broccoli, parsley, grapefruit and lemons, which provide some of the plant-based ingredients for NUTRILITE food supplements.

Alberto Vega in the offices of the Jaliscon sustainable NUTRILITE farm. © Amway

Alberto Vega in uthe offices of the Jalisco NUTRILITE farm.

However, if you ask farm and agriculture manager, Alberto Vega, what he enjoys when walking through the fields, his answer might surprise you. “The smell of organic fertilizer,” he says with a smirk. “It’s not always appealing to people who aren’t used to it, but it gives me a sense of confidence, because I am sure that we’re doing our best to look after plant health.”

Alberto’s passion for sustainable agriculture is palpable. In quiet moments, when he starts to plan the season, he leaves his computer and office behind to sit outside on the fields. “I spend hours and hours planning on a piece of paper, watching the horizon: where could I plant a new crop, how much land will we need,” he says. “It’s how I find my inspiration.”

A life devoted to healthy plants

Alberto first set foot on the NUTRILITE farm in Mexico a decade ago, as an intern. Today, he manages a team of 128 people, who share his enthusiasm for all things natural and sustainable. “NUTRILITE has given me the opportunity to grow in a professional and, most importantly, a personal way. I’m very proud of the farm and my team,” he says.

To enable everybody to excel, Alberto invests a part of his time in organising training. “We retrain the crew every year,” he says, explaining that his team is kept up-to-date on sustainable agricultural practices, such as resting the land between cycles, as well as safety. This is crucial, since the team may perform tasks, from planning the season to seed selection, pest and disease control, irrigation, fertilization, weeding, harvesting, and more.

Timing is everything!

When Alberto mentions harvesting, he pauses to explain that it is a critical part of the seed-to-supplement journey. This is because choosing the right time to harvest can have a significant impact on the quality of the natural nutrients that can be extracted. And these are the nutrients that form NUTRILITE food supplements.

Ultimately, the optimal harvest period – down to the time of day – depends on the plant or crop in question, as well as the climate. “When a plant is fully grown, it has the highest nutrient content and the highest yield,” Alberto explains, “That’s the best harvest time to get as many natural benefits as possible.”

For Alberto and his team, this is before noon. “We start around 7:00am to 11:00am,” he says. “We could harvest later, but the crop would quickly lose humidity.” Sun exposure on days when temperatures soar above 30°C can easily compromise the harvesting material.

Not all harvesting happens during the day. At the Ubajara Nutrilite farm in Brazil, the acerola cherry harvest takes place at night. This is because low temperatures of the fruit, which occur at nighttime, help keep the vitamin C content high.

As plants have the highest nutrient content at certain times, as mentioned by Alberto, every harvest is a race against the clock. Farmers do their best to ensure that the yield retains as many nutrients as possible. After all, quality always has been – and continues to be – crucial for NUTRILITE food supplements.

If crops are optimally harvested, they provide great ingredients for the next part of the process. Curious to learn how farming, nutrition, health, well-being and diet come together? Watch this space for the following instalment of our series, which will take us into the lab of Alli Klosner, who spends her days developing NUTRILITE food supplement formulas.

For more information about NUTRILITE, please click here.

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