Made with Splenda® Stevia Sweetener
The Splenda Stevia Farms is the first-ever fully integrated stevia farm in the United States. The farm is designed to grow the best-tasting stevia, and to invest in the community, the people, and the environment. The warm, sunny climate, soil and water resources make Central Florida ideal for growing high-quality stevia plants, and our sustainable farming techniques are reshaping the impact stevia processing has on the environment. Our stevia is harvested by local farmers creating a new American agriculture industry and ensuring higher-quality, great-tasting stevia.
Learn more about how stevia is being grown in the United States at the Splenda Stevia Farm in Central Florida. Follow Chip Carter from “Where the Food Comes From,” as he explores every step of the stevia production process.
In this podcast Chrissy Wozniak of North American Ag sits down with Ricardo Reyes who serves as Executive Vice President of Global Manufacturing, Quality, and R&D for Heartland Food Products Group, owner of Splenda. Ricardo shares the story of Florida’s newest crop – US grown stevia at Splenda Stevia Farms located north of Tampa.
It all started over 20 years ago when we began investing in the natural breeding of stevia plants. Plant A and Plant B are cross-pollinated by bees and their seeds are tested for strong agricultural properties and, of course, the sweetest and best tasting sugars, called glycosides. The process is repeated until we have the best stevia plants and the best-tasting combinations of stevia glycosides, sweet and without bitterness. We then take cuttings from those mother plants and propagate them over and over again, growing roots from the cuttings, creating more versions of the same plant. This gives us a consistency of sweetness from acre to acre. An all-natural process, without genetic engineering.
Splenda Stevia Farm Management designed the farm to be eco-friendly from the very start: we implemented water conservation measures, eliminated long supply chains, reduced CO2 emissions, and adopted socially responsible farming techniques.
By growing stevia in the US, we are drastically cutting down on the environmental impact of a complex and heavy transportation infrastructure. Eliminating imports and reliance on China are key benefits and greatly reduce emissions while reshaping the impact stevia processing has on the environment.
The extraction method simply uses stevia leaves and water. Once the stevia leaves are harvested, they are steeped in fresh water. The sweet stevia is extracted from of the cells of the leaves and is taken away with the water. The water is then evaporated and filtered, after which the pure stevia glycosides are available to sweeten foods and beverages naturally. The clean stevia leaves are then removed from the steeping tanks, dried, and pelletized as nutrient-rich feed for the livestock. In turn, the livestock produces dairy and protein to sustain life in other ways. It also produces manure which is collected and makes its way back to the fields, fertilizing the same stevia plants that will again be harvested, thus completing the circle of sustainability.
Our commitment goes beyond the farm and embraces the broader ecosystem.