It’s also adding a central Florida grower-shipper.
This fall, the Fort Pierce, Fla.-based DNE plans to market fruit for Premier Citrus Packers LLC, Vero Beach, and John Stephens Inc. Frostproof.
During the 2012-13 season, Premier packed about 1 million cartons of grapefruit, oranges and honey tangerines, making it the state’s 11th largest single citrus packinghouse, according to statistics from the Florida Citrus Administrative Committee, Lakeland.
Stephens packed around 420,000 cartons of mostly oranges and tangerines while Premier focused primarily on grapefruit, according to the citrus committee.
He said DNE will sell Premier’s fruit domestically; the company uses to market its own fruit. Stephens sold fruit through other marketers.
“With Premier, their volume is such that we will have a lot more Indian River grapefruit to offer our current customer base and allow us to expand with some new accounts we’re not currently doing business with,” Swords said.
“Stephens is a nice addition in that it will give us a nice mix of grapefruit, juice oranges and tangerines,” he said. “Combined, it gives us a bigger critical mass.”
DNE also markets for Fellsmere, Fla.-based Sun-Ag, Haines City Citrus Growers Association and Orange Ring, both in Haines City, Fla., and Vero Beach-based Indian River Exchange Packers and Quality Fruit Packers of Indian River Inc.
DNE plans to market more than 5 million cartons of Florida fruit this year.
DNE is the sales arm of Fort Pierce-based Bernard Egan & Co.