TORONTO — From the office of his newly retrofitted 65,000-square-foot warehouse, Steven Weinstein still wonders how he survived 2010.
“Everything happened at the same time, and we had construction nonstop from January to June,” said Weinstein, vice president of wholesale melon specialist Canadian Fruit & Produce Co. Ltd.
After growing out of its 1981 warehouse, the company had been renting extra space during peak periods while searching for a larger facility.
When the perfect property appeared, it coincided with Canadian Fruit’s move across the street at the Ontario Food Terminal last spring to two new stalls that also required extensive upgrading and renovation.
In mid-June, though work on the new warehouse wasn’t complete, Weinstein ordered everything moved in from the old and rented warehouses.
Operations are now running smoothly, he said, and he’s excited about the company’s watermelon sorting machine from California, which uses near infrared technology to size and grade melons internally.
“We have sorting rooms, grading rooms, atmosphere-controlled coolers, and our new racking systems give us the equivalent of 180,000 square feet,” Weinstein said.
The company’s additional space at the food terminal has also allowed it to expand into other products, he said, such as grapes from California and Chile and peppers, eggplant and zucchini from Mexico, Florida and Texas.
He said Canadian Fruit is also experimenting with Washington apples and pears.