(June 12) PARLIER, Calif. — The Ripe ‘N Ready Tree Fruit LLC preconditioning corporation has added Ito Packing Co. Inc., Reedley, as its newest member.
Ito Packing has been in business for more than 40 years and is known for its wide line of peaches, plums and nectarines including proprietary varieties like Red Jim nectarines and UFO white flesh peaches, which will remain under Ito control.
"We are just being introduced to it," said Craig Ito, president of Ito Packing. "But I think they are the most organized on preconditioning."
Ripe ‘N Ready seems to have the right combination of growers, Ito added.
He said that because he is still going through the learning process and the season has already begun, he did not know exactly how much of his fruit would be part of the Ripe ‘N Ready program in 2003, but it will probably be a small amount.
However, his contribution should increase substantially in the future, Ito said.
"Ito adds strength and the ability to excel in the market," said Steve Kenfield, president of Ripe ‘N Ready. "They have a great reputation in the industry and their crop mix makes for a good fit."
Kenfield said the addition will help smooth out the flow of product during the long growing season. Ito Packing has a broad line of peaches, plums, nectarines and white flesh peaches and nectarines from May through August, with some varieties ripening into September.
Kenfield added that Ito Packing will be the last addition to the Ripe ‘N Ready team, at least for the near future. Kenfield said Ripe ‘N Ready, which is also a brand name that stands for good tasting fruit, will double its production from 2002.
He declined to say what the volume would be. But consumers will see more preconditioned plums and white flesh peaches this season, Kenfield said.
Ito Packing joins Kaprielian Brothers Packing Co. and Corrin Produce Sales, both of Reedley, The HMC Group Marketing Inc., Kingsburg; SunWest Fruit Co. Inc., Parlier; and Fowler Packing Co. Inc., Fowler, in the Ripe ‘N Ready organization.
The corporation will now operate five packing sheds in the Central Valley, with the addition of Ito Packing, Kenfield said.