Alfonso Fanjul and J. Pepe Fanjul have been an integral part of agriculture in Florida and their communities for more than 50 years. Their numerous contributions and the success of their business endeavors have contributed to the betterment of agriculture in the Everglades Agricultural Area and in the state of Florida.
The Fanjul family founded Florida Crystals Corporation in 1960 as a sugarcane farming and milling company in Palm Beach County. Alfonso Fanjul serves as chairman of the board and CEO of both Fanjul Corp. and Florida Crystals, which farms 190,000 acres in Palm Beach County. The company owns and operates two sugar mills, a sugar refinery, a rice mill, a packaging and distribution center and the largest biomass renewable power plant in North America. Pepe Fanjul is vice chairman, chief operating officer and president of the companies.
The two have been members of Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida almost from its inception. They and other Glades farmers formed the influential trade association, the Florida Sugar Cane League, and the joint marketing cooperatives for the sales of raw sugar and molasses. In 1998, the Fanjul brothers partnered with the Cooperative to buy a sugar refinery in Yonkers, N.Y., to become a totally vertically integrated company. Today, that company, ASR Group, is the largest cane sugar refiner and marketer in the world.
In addition to the farming interests, Florida Crystals’ land portfolio extends to residential and commercial real estate. The Fanjuls also pioneered production of organic sugar cane and rice in South Florida – a major challenge in a subtropical climate. Presently, Florida Crystals continues to be the only producer of organic cane sugar products 100 percent made in the USA – grown, harvested and milled in Florida.
Over the decades, the two South Florida leaders have been influential in local, state and national politics, helping to shape sound farm and environmental policies. Just as important, they are deeply committed to the communities in the EAA. The family founded and strongly supports New Hope Charities, which provides day care, health and education services for Pahokee and surrounding areas.