(Dec. 1) SANGER, Calif. — Ballantine Produce Co. Inc. has added more volume in a Nov. 25 marketing agreement with fellow grower-shipper-packer Sun Valley Packing, Reedley.

Each business will maintain its separate operations, except that marketing will be under Ballantine’s helm.

Walt Jones, principal of Sun Valley Packing, said, “The rationale for this decision is in recognition of the industry’s need to consolidate, in addition to the effectiveness of Ballantine’s activities in the marketplace over the past several years.”

Using one marketing avenue will allow a larger volume and variety availability.

Ballantine also has furthered its consolidation with Kaprielian Bros. Packing Co., Reedley.

Kaprielian and Ballantine combined their marketing activities in May. Now the deal includes placing the packing, cold storage and grower service functions of both enterprises under the Ballantine name.

At the time of the Kaprielian deal, Ballantine officials expected gross sales from the combined sales operation to exceed $125 million this year, which would make Ballantine one of the top five sales organizations for California tree fruit.
Ballantine officials declined to give any volume or sales figures for the Sun Valley deal.

Ballantine will flow nearly 200 varieties of peaches, nectarines, plums and pluots through its marketing arm. It also will continue to market other commodities, including apples, pears, persimmons, pomegranates, quince and citrus, according to a news release.

Steve Ryan will continue to manage Ballantine’s daily sales activities.

Ballentine didn’t say how the agreement would affect marketing department personnel.

“Each (business) will continue to farm, and each of us is excited about the opportunities that this is going to give us with the range of varieties from collective companies,” said Jerry DiBuduo, senior board member of Ballantine.

“Together these companies have 150-plus years in the industry.”
Ballantine plans to continue its drive as a partner in the Ripe N Ready program.

Ballantine will increase its import program from South America with a full range of stone fruit and table grapes, including its participation in an expanded Chilean Ripe N Ready program, which is managed by Ron Wynn, who also oversees the California program, the company said.