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Meet Founder Mauricio Robleto

Mauricio, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was born in San Jose, Costa Rica. I moved to the US in 1992 with my broken English and a heart thirsty for adventure. Most people know my country for its beauty, and for sure they should but there is the day to day life of folks making it in a small economy. It is for many a dream come true to make it to an industrial advanced country like the US and find careers, best education, learn English etc, especially if your family struggles financially. It was a bit different for me, my parents fought hard for a better life and decided not to let the circumstances beat them.

Try Hearts of Palm in a Dish other than Salad 

The official state tree of Florida, the Sabal or cabbage palm, is also the source of one of the world’s culinary delicacies, hearts of palm. Not all hearts come from Florida trees. The major producers are Brazil and Costa Rica. What’s produced and sold in Florida — whether fresh, canned or jarred — is done under very vague state-mandated guidelines, which, according to the University of Florida Extension Service, declares the Sabal palm “a protected species from indiscriminate cutting,” but not prohibited from harvesting for food.

Hearts of Palm Division of Gruma Centroamerica Received Award for Environmental Innovation

Demasa Hearts of Palm Division, part of Gruma Central America, was recognized for its technological innovation practices in environmental matters. This award has enabled the company to be internationally noticed as a plant specialized in the production and marketing of palm with the most modern and environmentally friendly practices.

Manga Rica Social Responsibility

Manga Rica has a long-standing commitment to promoting social values. The project "Cuento con una mano amiga" ensures equal opportunities among all the children of our community. At the beginning, the project was created by the Interdisciplinary Team of the Barrio La Cruz School in Liberia Guanacaste and it is currently is financed by Manga Rica S.A. who provides economic support to 16 students who need financial help.

Passion Fruit: A New Sustainable Opportunity for Smallholder Farmers

To mark the International Day of Families, Rainforest Alliance staff member Yessenia Soto shares a story about her visit to a small Rainforest Alliance Certified™ passion fruit farm in the central highlands of Costa Rica. She spoke with farmer Gerardo Jiménez about his work to make his farm sustainable, as well as what this means for his children and grandchildren.

Cancer Fighters Derived from Nature

In the war against cancer, nature plays a big role in treatment. The chemotherapeutic aid Taxol, for example, comes from the Pacific yew tree. The cancer fighting agent Krestin comes from maitake mushroom. And vinblastine one of the most celebrated drugs for treating cancer of the lymphatic system, lungs and breasts, comes from the Madagascar periwinkle. Today, research into new forms of cancer treatment is ongoing with extracts of sea creatures from coral reefs, toxins from scorpions, and many other natural substances.

Heart of Palm Nutrition

Louise Tremblay recently received a Master of Science degree in molecular and cellular biology in Ontario, Canada, following years of cancer research experience. She has previously written articles and web content on science, heath, fitness, diet and wellness. She is currently pursuing her certification in personal training. Hearts of palm is a type of vegetable that is harvested from a number of palm tree species. The edible cores from the palm tree stems are firm, smooth, and described as resembling the flavor of an artichoke. Its crisp texture makes the food an ideal addition to salads and stir-fry meals. Palm hearts also contain beneficial nutrients and contribute to a healthy diet.

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