Porterville, Calif.-based Homegrown Organic named Jeremy Basich general manager of the new facility, which includes 50,000 square feet of cold storage and 37,500 of packing line area.
He also oversees the company’s Arvin site, which is expected to become commercial cold storage and shipping space. Homegrown’s Riverside citrus packing facility handles fruit from Districts 2 and 3, and continues to take overflow for District 1.
The company ships organic blueberries, citrus and tree fruit. The Kingsburg packing line is under construction and expected to be ready for the stone fruit deal.
The consolidation allows packing staff to shift from seasonal to year-round work, chief executive officer Scott Mabs said in a news release. The move cuts resource costs and allows for future growth, he said.
“Our development in blueberries, citrus and tree fruit over the next five years demands a change,” Mabs said in the release.
The company plans postharvest organic controls that include ozonation drench technology and controlled-atmosphere storage. A stem and leaf line is planned to accommodate future growth in its mandarin program.
All stone fruit and some citrus will be harvested using totes instead of bins. The Kingsburg space is large enough to provide consolidation services to customers, according to the release. The refrigerated area is spread across three buildings and five rooms.
Basich was previously director of marketing for Phoenix-based food broker NPE. He was a commodity analyst and buyer for Safeway Inc. from 2002 to 2006. He began his career as an assistant produce buyer for Costco Wholesale.