The Aloe King of Texas
Texas is known for its agricultural diversity. Did you know it is one of only a handful of states with commercial-grade aloe vera production?
This 45 acres in Mercedes, Texas is home to thousands of aloe vera plants. These southern fields belong to John Sigrist of Aloe King.
According to Sigrist, “South Texas, I think, by and large is the premier growing area. We have temperate growing areas throughout the year. The amount of rainfall we have, usually about 26 inches a year, is sufficient to maintain the plant along with our irrigation capabilities.”
Aloe King started as a mom and pop business in 1978 on just three acres. Supplying aloe to a cosmetics company out of Dallas. The business grew from there.
“We started diversifying the aloe vera almost from the beginning,” he notes.
Aloe King uses every part of the plant, except for what is known as the aloin, the bitter yellow sap that oozes out after the initial cut, but the clear juice, most commonly used for sun burns and softening of the skin, is what is bottle and transformed into all kinds of products. That leaf is harvested and fileted, just like a fish, until that viscous liquid is extracted.
“We maintain the credibility of the inner filet with the smallest amount of aloin residual left,” Sigrist explains. “That bitter part is not so much a problem but using the inner filet makes a nice looking translucent juice and that is the signature product that we have for Aloe King products.”
Aloe King sells aloe vera gels, juice, and now even hand sanitizer around the world. They have had business relationships with Asian nations and even Cuba at one time. Proving that the aloe plant grown in southwest Texas has tons of versatility and popularity, but there is a lot that goes into the process for making the different products.
“After cutting the leaves and turning them into the filets, they get ground down and turned into a slurry. That slurry is then pumped into a pasteurization chamber where it is stabilized through pasteurization, just like milk, so once it’s stabilized, our chemist in house here goes through all the FDA documentation to follow all the FDA guidelines and the Texas Department of Health guidelines. With that we’re able to maintain credibility from origin to product...,” he adds. “There are a lot of positives about the digestion of the aloe, especially with the Hispanic and Asian communities. They have been using this for a medicinal cure all for centuries.”