SOUTH BAY - When Florida Crystals Corp. decided to try growing and processing sugar cane for the organic market nine years ago, even some of its top officials were skeptical.
"The biggest challenge was the processing. How do you process it without chemicals?" said Ricardo Lima, vice president and general manager of the firm's Okeelanta Corp., which includes 65,000 acres of cane fields, plus a mill, processing plant and distribution center. "I said, 'That's not possible. You're nuts.' But we decided to try it, starting out with 50 to 60 tons of sugar."