California/Arizona citrus business updates - The Packer

California/Arizona citrus business updates

10/24/2013 03:32:00 PM
Tom Burfield

Courtesy Limoneira Co.Santa Paula, Calif.-based Limoneira Co. has acquired Yuma, Ariz.-based Associated Citrus Packers Inc. and now is shipping lemons from Arizona, says Alex Teague, senior vice president and chief operating officer for Limoneira Co.Booth Ranches is now GlobalG.A.P. certified

Booth Ranches LLC, Orange Cove, Calif., has added Matt Cheney to its sales staff, said Neil Galone, vice president of sales and marketing. Cheney is a recent graduate of California State University, Fresno.

The company has been GlobalG.A.P. certified by GlobalG.A.P. Integrated Farm Assurance. The certification covers all of the firm’s farms and packing facilities.

Cecilia Packing Corp. awaits certification

Cecelia Packing Corp., Orange Cove, Calif., has been tweaking its operation as it nears its GlobalG.A.P. certification, expected in December, said sales manager Randy Jacobsen.

The audit process is comprehensive, he said. Auditors go from ranch to ranch to ensure that the operation meets GlobalG.A.P. standards.

Also, the company expects its cara cara orange crop to be up slightly compared with last year, with a start date around Dec. 1.

The firm’s Sky Valley heirloom navel orange program should start about Jan. 1, and minneolas should be available by early February, Jacobsen said.

Chuck Olsen Co. hires citrus salesman

Pat Simas, most recently with Haven Packing & Cold Storage, Reedley, Calif., has joined the sales staff of Visalia, Calif.-based Chuck Olsen Co., said president Jeff Olsen. Simas will help with citrus sales during the winter and grape sales during table grape season.

The company began offering lemons from the California desert Oct. 7 and will source from the Central Valley the second week of November, Olsen said.

The firm will have navel oranges starting the first week of November.

Eco-Farm Corp. adds golden nuggets

Eco-Farm Corp., Temecula, Calif., is growing organic golden nugget tangerines in north San Diego County for the first time this year, said Steve Taft, president.

The program will start out small but may get bigger if it proves popular at retail, Taft said. About half of the fruit will be grown in the San Joaquin Valley.

Homegrown Organic Farms rolls out bags

Homegrown Organic Farms, Strathmore, Calif., is releasing a pouch bag this year for mandarins and some cara cara navel oranges, said Scott Mabs, chief executive officer.

The company also plans to move to a newly renovated building in Porterville, Calif., in late November. Homegrown’s farming, sales and marketing departments will be based there.

The company also has installed a citrus line at its new packing and cold storage facility in Kingsburg, Calif. The facility will run stone fruit during the summer and some citrus in the winter.

The firm also plans to add pummelos to its citrus product line this season.

Limoneira acquires Associated Citrus

Santa Paula, Calif.-based Limoneira Co. has acquired Yuma, Ariz.-based Associated Citrus Packers Inc., said Alex Teague, senior vice president and chief operating officer for Limoneira Co.

The acquisition fits into Limoneira’s program to serve the marketplace year-round.

“We now have control over fruit from one year to the next and can make long term commitments,” Teague said.

Associated’s citrus also fits into Limoneira’s export market niche, he said. Associated’s management is expected to remain intact.

Bill Spencer, president and chief operating officer of Associated Citrus Packers, retired July 31 after more than three decades with the family-owned company.

LoBue Bros. Inc. hires vice president

Norm Gatineau, most recently with Bee Sweet Citrus, Fowler, Calif., has been named vice president of sales and marketing for Lindsay, Calif.-based LoBue Bros. Inc.

Gatineau said the company expects to have a slight increase in navel orange volume this year along with more clementines and murcotts.

LoBue Bros. also is adding lemons out of the district 3 desert growing region and satsuma mandarins to its product line.

Mulholland Citrus adds sales and marketing VP

Mulholland Citrus, Orange Cove, Calif., has hired Archie Williams, previously with Pasadena, Calif.-based Sun Pacific Shippers, as vice president of marketing and sales, said Heather Mulholland, chief financial officer.

The company also has added Jennifer Estrada as horticulturist/pest control adviser and Aaron Gomez as sales coordinator.

The company, which grows clementines and other mandarins, expects volume to be similar to or slightly higher than last year, said Fred Berry, director of marketing.

Pacific Organic Produce adds lemons, grapefruit

Volume should be up about 15% this season on organic lemons and grapefruit from Pacific Organic Produce, San Francisco, said John Stair, domestic commodity manager.

Stair attributed the uptick to the addition of two growers.

The company started packing organic grapefruit the week of Oct. 14 and expects to continue until April.

The firm started harvesting lemons out of the California desert growing region in late September and will continue to pick in the desert through February.

Paramount Citrus buys Grimmway’s deal

Delano, Calif.-based Paramount Citrus has acquired the citrus assets of Bakersfield, Calif.-based Grimmway Farms.

The addition will increase Paramount’s navel acreage by 45% and its California fresh lemon carton volume by 43%.

“This adds 2.4 million packages (40-pound equivalents) to our annual citrus operation,” said president David Krause.

Sunkist promotes new uses for grapefruit

Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based Sunkist Growers Inc. is promoting modern uses for grapefruit through its “Not Your Mother’s Grapefruit” campaign, said Joan Wickham, manager of advertising and public relations.

The campaign is aimed at “reigniting the fruit’s popularity by educating younger consumers about this delicious, nutrient-rich superfood,” she said.

The product will feature vibrant packaging that promotes the nutrition and weight loss benefits of grapefruit.

An online brochure with information about the health and wellness benefits of grapefruit is available on Sunkist’s website, sunkist.com.

Suntreat Packing increases Reserves

Volume should be up this year on Lindsay, Calif.-based Suntreat Packing & Shipping Co.’s Reserve Citrus line, said Al Imbimbo, vice president of sales.

The line, launched in 2012, includes oro blanco grapefruit, cara cara navels, reserve navels, gold nugget mandarins and seedless lemons. Imbimbo said the company will be especially focused on Reserve navels.

“We’re really picking and packing for eating quality,” he said. “It’s all about the flavor.”

This will be the fourth year for its Sumo Citrus easy-peel mandarin program, which runs from early February until the end of March.

“It’s been overwhelmingly successful,” Imbimbo said. “I have way more demand than I have supply.”

The product has its own website, sumocitrus.com.

SunWest adds capacity, hires salesman

SunWest Fruit Co. Inc., Parlier, Calif., has hired a salesman, Gino DiBuduo, most recently with Mulholland Citrus, Orange Cove, Calif., and is adding packing and cold storage capacity, which should be ready by next spring, said salesman John Senn.

The company’s product line includes navel oranges, cara caras, clementines and minneolas.

Senn said he expects the company’s volume to be up this season.



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