Saw Palmetto Berries: Growing Towards Prostate Health
Saw Palmetto Berries Co-Op of Florida, Naples, FL, originated in 1995 when there was a shortage of saw palmetto. “We started supplying a few major companies with whole berries,” said Gregory Zaino, CEO, “and from there we shifted into just producing ‘Premium CO2’ extract. Each year there’s been larger demand.” Saw palmetto, specifically Premium CO2 super critical oil, has been and will continue to be the company’s only concentration, although Saw Palmetto Co-Op also sells a 25-45% spray dry extraction, whole berries and natural powders. “We are becoming increasingly recognized as a premium quality supplier,” said Mr. Zaino, adding that the Premium CO2 product is an 80-90% free fatty acid extraction that is done through a process called “supercritical carbon dioxide extraction.”
The company has a 17,000 square foot facility in Naples, Florida, where it grows and processes the saw palmetto berries. “We handle over 580,000 pounds of berries per week,” said Mr. Zaino. “We have a co-op with farmers in the area with 1000 acres of land we lease from them. We then harvest and process the berries into either premium CO2, natural powder or 25-45% spray dry. We are not brokers,” he emphasized. “We monitor our own crops, up to three times a week.” Another expansion is in the works for next year. Saw Palmetto Co-Op claims to be the first vertically integrated company from fields through manufacturing. The company is also certified by the state of Florida as a “certified organic grower.”
Currently Saw Palmetto Co-Op is involved primarily in the U.S. market, but the company would like to expand. “We would like to grow our international business and are currently looking for partnerships,” commented Mr. Zaino.
“Saw palmetto is a true commodity and the co-op specializes in this crop only,” he went on. “The crop is indigenous to Florida; it takes nine years to propagate and vast amounts of land to supply this market’s needs. We have been successful by sticking to what we know,” he commented. Quality is the name of the game, he said. “Right now there are some inferior products being sold at cheaper prices; this is driving the market down temporarily. In the long run, though, we expect the conscientious buyer will demand the premium quality CO2 extract that we and other quality companies offer. Less expensive saw palmetto extracts do not have the shelf life and long term stability that our extract offers.” —E.S.
Saw Palmetto Berries
Co-Op of Florida, Inc.
432 Pinelake Drive
Naples, FL 34112
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