He reminded growers that Wawona Packing Co. and Moonlight Cos. LLC recently became licensed Cuties packers.
“They’ll be soliciting growers to pack with them,” Evans said. “Sales will be coordinated through us.”
Evans estimated Sun Pacific’s clementine acreage at 6,000 and Paramount’s at 6,200. For murcotts and tangos, Paramount has about 6,000 to Sun Pacific’s 4,500, he said. The two companies accounted for about 90% of clementines and 70% of murcotts.
Part of Sun Pacific’s approach in Visalia was to target smaller growers, or larger growers of other crops — even nuts — who have or are considering modest citrus acreage. It’s unclear what commitments may come out of the meeting, but there was interest.
LindaKay Abdulian, president and chief executive officer of Fowler-based Bedrosian Farms, said her company expects to plant 70 acres of murcotts and tangos by next spring.
“We’re trying to diversify,” Abdulian said. “That’s why we came. Mr. Evans was candid and forthright.”
So far only clementines, murcotts and tangos — which are essentially a seedless murcott — have been packed as Cuties. One grower said he’d consider packing the Gold Nugget variety under that label, but noted younger groves have had problems with alternate bearing.