Avocado commission opens first satellite office

07/05/2013 05:56:00 PM
Vicky Boyd

California Avocado Commission logoThe Irvine-based California Avocado Commission has opened its first satellite office in Santa Paula in the thriving northern part of the state’s avocado production area.

It was dedicated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony May 29 and is intended to provide growers with increased commission accessibility, said Tom Bellamore, president.

“The commission has its office here in Irvine, so growers in the south drive north,” he said. “And growers in the north drive south. And those in the very far north in San Luis Obispo or even farther up don’t drive at all because it’s just too far.”

Ken Melban, director of issues management, will work out of the satellite office when he’s in the area.

The Avocado Inspection Service already had an office at 705 E. Main St., so Bellamore said it made sense for the commission to share office space with the service.

In addition, the new office is only 10 minutes away from an 11-acre demonstration farm the commission just leased from the Cal Poly Pomona Foundation. Two acres are already planted to avocados, and the remaining lemon acreage will be removed and replaced with avocados.

The farm will enhance the commission’s grower educational and outreach programs, which have received more emphasis the past few years, he said.

“Growers may hear about some practice but be hesitant to try it in their own grove,” Bellamore said. “We can make that come alive and maybe show them some pruning techniques in the field on a property that isn’t there’s so there’s no risk for them.”



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