Florida Crystals began as a small sugarcane farming and milling company in Pahokee, Florida, where it was founded by the Fanjul family in 1960. The family’s more than century-long heritage in farming, dating back to 1850 in Cuba, inspired the ideals on which they would build their company: one that values its employees, is committed to giving back to its community and utilizes the most environmentally friendly farming practices to produce the foods that feed its neighbors.
Rebuilding a Sustainable Business in Florida
The initial building block for the family’s new business included the purchase of three defunct sugar mills in Louisiana, which were disassembled and barged to the southern shore of Lake Okeechobee, where they were then pieced together to form the Osceola Sugar Mill. The company’s first sugarcane harvest took place on 4,000 acres of land that the family and a group of investors had pieced together and yielded 10,500 tons of raw sugar. The harvest was celebrated as a success. The next year, hurricanes ravished the crop. But, the family persevered, acquiring and cultivating a new farm under the name “New Hope Sugar Company,” which reflected the optimism the family felt as they rebuilt their business in America.
As the decades progressed, Florida Crystals continued to grow through farmland purchases and strategic acquisitions.
Our commitment to quality, the environment and our consumers led us to pioneer organic sugarcane farming and milling in the 1990s. We are proud to continue to be the only producer of organic raw cane sugar products that are 100 percent made in the USA – grown, harvested and milled in Florida. Our organic and raw cane sugar products are sold through our Florida Crystals® brand.
Over the past six decades, Florida Crystals has grown and diversified. Today, the Florida division of the company includes two sugar mills, a sugar refinery, a rice mill, a packaging and distribution center and the largest biomass renewable energy facility in North America, which cleanly powers our sugar operations as well as supplies plant-based energy to the Florida power grid. Along with sugarcane, we also farm organic and conventional rice and sweet corn in a sustainable rotational cycle.
Our holdings also include ASR Group International, Inc. the world’s largest cane sugar refining and marketing company, which is a partnership with Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida. Our expertise in land management made an expansion into residential real estate development a natural fit. In 2012, the company founded FCI Residential Corporation, a fully integrated real estate services company that develops, constructs and manages luxury rental communities in urban areas.
While Florida Crystals has grown into a multi-national company, we continue to stay true to our family-centric values.
One of our foundational pillars is to be the best stewards of our land and natural resources. That mission led us to establish our newest business. Utilizing sugarcane’s innate ability to convert sunlight into food, energy and fiber more efficiently than any other major crop, we founded Tellus Products, a partnership with Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative, with a mission to help solve one of the planet’s most pressing environmental issues: disposable plastics. Tellus upcycles sugarcane fiber that remains after the Florida sugar milling process to produce compostable, single-use tableware and food-service products that replace disposable plastic and polystyrene that are increasingly polluting our waterways and clogging our landfills. Unlike plastic and Styrofoam, Tellus’ products are made from plant fiber and compost back to the earth in less than 75 days. They are also the only products of their kind that are grown and made in the USA.
For more than 60 years, we have been proud to provide thousands of quality jobs for families in South Florida and tens of thousands across the globe through our group of companies. Generation after generation, we have been carefully cultivating and producing our products. We are committed to continuing that legacy.