Riverside, Calif.-based Index Fresh is marking its 100th anniversary.
Index Fresh, which markets avocados under the AvoTerra, AvoSol and AvoLoma labels, started in 1914 as Index Orchards in Orange County with a focus on citrus.
Its first packinghouse was built at a rail crossing at the base of the La Habra Hills. By coincidence, Rudolph Hass developed the hass avocado in that area, patenting the variety in 1939.
Producers there formed United Avocado Growers, which was absorbed into Index Mutual — as the business was renamed in 1929 after becoming a cooperative — in the 1950s. By the 1970’s, avocados replaced the citrus as Index’s primary product, according to a news release.
After a fire destroyed the packinghouse in 1988, a plant was built in Bloomington, Calif., in 1989. The business was renamed Index Fresh in 1990. In 1999, it converted from a cooperative to a corporation, with members becoming shareholders.
Index began importing South American avocados in 1991. It supplies the fruit year round, including Mexican avocados.
The packinghouse was expanded in 2003 and 2004. Last year, the company moved into new sales and administrative offices in downtown Riverside.
“We were founded by California growers and remain grower owned,” Dana Thomas, president and chief executive officer, said in the release.
Index Fresh’s bagged avocados are sold under the AvoBuddies program.