This week, Cappadona Ranch was asked to be a Keynote Speaker at the Texas Rural Challenge, which took place in New Braunfels. This is a huge honor for us. Last year, we won the Texas Strong Fast-Pitch competition. This was a stepping-stone to help us build up confidence for other competitions like HEB’s Quest for Texas Best and the Hidalgo County South Texas Economic Development Program.
We were nominated by our SBDC Advisor, Aaron Gonzalez, to represent the South-West Border Network SBDC. Not to brag, but we rocked. For two weeks we prepared our 5-minute pitch. We performed our pitch to family, friends, our advisors, and anyone that would listen and critique us - and it all paid off. We won and were asked to come back to be a Keynote Speaker this year!
So what did we talk about? We talked about the mesquite tree and about how the mesquite tree is considered the devil tree to farmers and ranchers. We also talked about how native Americans always considered the mesquite tree as the Tree of Life! We had a great time telling our story, and more importantly, how the SBDC helped us to get our products to where we are today! Of course, we had to give a shout out to Aaron, who helped us gather information for our food labeling, our price point, our finances and for helping put us in touch with different grants, such as those at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce and the USDA Value-Added Grant.
We discussed our collaborations with different organizations, such as AgriLife Extension Office, Go Texan, Winter Texan Expo, and others. We spoke on how we met people that were interested in our story and how we were featured in local and national magazines such as Texas Co-Op, Farm Magazine, Ag Mag, and Edible San Antonio to name a few. We even recounted when Texas Country Reporter gave us a call! We told the story of how HEB spotted us at a few events and how we were picked as a top 25 finalists at the HEB Quest for Texas Best.
The best thing of all these experiences has been the many connections we have made and continued to make at this year’s Texas Rural Challenge, learning about new grant opportunities and how to harvest more efficiently.
It is all about Cultivating, Innovating and Collaborating.