A "fruitless" quest for a favorite fruit in New York led to the founding of a company that now processes 10 million pounds of fruit per year. When Chuck Casano returned from his work in Nicaragua 10 years ago, he was surprised that he could not find his favorite dragon fruit at any of the stores. Realizing that, in Nicaragua, “most farmers cannot afford pesticides, so the majority of these farms were ‘default’ organic,” he decided to help them obtain an organic certification that would enable them to export their produce to the US. Since then, Pitaya Foods ("pitaya" is another name for dragon fruit) has grown from sourcing produce from 10 growers in Nicaragua to 800 family-owned, organic-certified farms in Brazil, Peru, Mexico,and Vietnam. As a certified B Corporation, it now sells frozen fruits, smoothie packs and powders in more than 16,000 retailers nationwide.

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