S&W Seed Company, Five Points has commenced its commercial harvest of stevia in 2012. The company's agronomists anticipate that at least one additional stevia leaf harvest will be completed during calendar year 2012 on its initial 114-acre field in Chowchilla, Calif.
This is the second year that stevia leaf will have been produced from the Chowchilla farmland, which was planted in calendar year 2011. After harvest, the stevia leaf will be dried and prepared for shipment at the company's processing facility in Five Points, Calif.
The company recently planted a second generation field of approximately 150 additional acres using a selection of varieties that it believes may have characteristics superior to those of the first generation planting on the Chowchilla plot.
As a key component of its stevia development program, the company continues to utilize a portion of the Chowchilla location for research and development activities, including various harvesting techniques, while using a majority of the acreage for commercial purposes. The company will harvest approximately 75% of the field during this first harvest and anticipates harvesting 100% of the 114-acres during a second harvest to be completed later this fall.
"Our stevia program continues to make progress," says Mark Grewal, chief executive officer of S&W Seed Company "This is the second harvest from the same stevia plants which reaffirms our belief that, unlike China, the California climate is suited for harvests on a multiple year basis. Additionally, we continue to gain valuable insight as our agronomists experiment with various planting and harvesting techniques. As we pioneer commercial stevia production in California, we are heartened by overcoming the various challenges that arise. The developmental knowledge and experience gained should serve S&W well into the future."
Founded in 1980 and headquartered in the Central Valley of California, S&W Seed Company is a leading producer of warm climate, high yield alfalfa seed varieties, including varieties that can thrive in poor, saline soils, as verified over decades of university-sponsored trials. S&W also offers seed cleaning and processing at its 40-acre facility in Five Points,
California and has recently launched a business expansion initiative centered on its plan to mass produce stevia leaf in the U.S. in response to growing global demand for the all-natural, zero calorie sweetener from the food and beverage industry. More is at www.swseedco.com.