Harvesting and Processing
Aloecorp harvests and processes Aloe vera according to guidelines of Time, Temperature and Sanitation (TTS). Strict, sanitary manufacturing practices use specific time and temperature guidelines to preserve the natural properties of the Aloe vera plant.
Aloecorp is the industry leader in producing quality Aloe vera raw material including gels, whole leaf, liquid concentrates and powders. Aloecorp is devoted to producing the highest quality Aloe products through the use of quality control parameters including various devices for analyzing chemical and physical characteristics, and in vitro assays for monitoring biological activity. Aloecorp is the only supplier with a full range of biological, chemical and medicinal R&D capabilities. Superior products deliver high quality with added benefits to the consumer ― and consumers expect a more effective and consistent product they can depend on time after time. More recently, Aloecorp began developing an Aloe vera farm on Hainan Island in Southern China. (See the "Representatives" section for more information about our Asia sales office.)
Aloecorp de Mexico
Aloe vera leaves are normally sensitive to subfreezing temperatures after several hours. Since occasional arctic cold fronts move down through Southern Texas, weather can be a ruinous factor to an Aloe vera processing schedule. With that in mind, Aloecorp thought it prudent to grow a large, additional supply of Aloe vera leaves further South in Mexico. Our Mexican farm is located in the southern tip of the State of Tamaulipas, Gonzalez, about fifty miles northwest of Tampico in the northern tip of State Veracruz, Panuco by the beautiful Panuco riverside.
The hill country surrounding Aloecorp de Mexico is a beautiful landscape, dotted with thatch-roofed huts and pastel-painted farm houses. Soothing pastures are set into sloping hills, surrounded by deep green pines, bright green palms, and a world of other plants and trees. To the east, towards Tampico, the hills rest higher and slope downward toward a valley on the western horizon, where the mountain called El Bernal juts out of the flats like a giant tree trunk. The plantation itself is a glorious sight. Smooth, rolling hills are blanketed with countless rows of Aloe plants that seem to go on forever. Amid the light green fields are a few ponds lined with tall, dark trees. Like the surrounding land, the farm slightly slopes toward the valley to the west, giving the observer a perfect view of El Bernal. Near the center of the farm, beside the largest pond, stands the bright white, newly constructed Aloecorp Plantation building which houses the production and processing facility, warehouse and offices. The structure has a Mexican architectural flavor, with arches lining the front walk, wall-to-wall tile and a complete absence of wood.
Each morning, as the sun rises and the roosters from the local farms crow to their hearts content, the employees of Aloecorp de Mexico wait outside their homes for the company bus. This bus drives on the narrow roads that wind through the hill country, providing a ride to employees who lack transportation. When the company bus arrives at the plantation, the first order of business is the employee meeting. During the meeting, the farm manager informs field employees of the projects to be carried out that day. A typical project might be weeding a certain section of the farm, or harvesting a certain amount of leaves. The one hundred-plus employees at the plantation work in the field, or in production or maintenance capacities. Once the farm manager has given his instructions, the production manager leads a small discussion. The topic might be something like facility cleanliness or productivity. At each meeting, employees are given the opportunity to voice their opinions and point out problems to the manager. Any problems that may exist are discussed openly at the meeting. By the meeting's end, employees know exactly what they are to do that day.
For those working in the fields, the midday sun provides a humid, blistering heat. Most of the employees, however, grew up in the area and are accustomed to the climate. They steadily work the fields, harvesting the Aloe by pulling back on the green leaf and cutting at the white base. Approximately three of the outermost mature leaves are cut from each plant. Leaves are gathered in boxes which are transported immediately to the production facility. Back at the building, production employees feed incoming harvested leaves into the primary washer located just outside the production room. The production room is filled with a stainless steel conveyor system that quickly moves harvested leaves from the primary wash tank outside through a small opening in the wall into the room. The conveyors propel leaves to the mechanical leaf washer, then to the cutting area, and finally through the gel expulsion machines. The production room is kept in an ultra-sanitary state, even when not in use. Employees are required to go through a process of sanitation every time they enter the room and the entire area is thoroughly cleaned after each production run. Once the gel is expelled from the leaves, it is pumped through a de-pulping machine. The pure Aloe gel is then moved through HTST, the best pasteurizing method to reduce microbial count in the fresh product and stored in an insulated tank, ready to be pumped into a concentration operation.
The production process is one requiring discipline and hard work. The maintenance of the equipment, the enforcement of sanitation standards and the effort to maintain a level of productive efficiency, all require a special effort. Visitors to the Aloecorp de Mexico Plantation will often comment on the beauty of the fields and the natural surroundings. They see the purity of nature surrounding the Aloecorp de Mexico Plantation as an inspiration. "It is easier to continue striving to preserve the natural purity of the Aloe gel when you are in such a natural environment ― that's the kind of feeling you can't always get from working in an office or industrial park."