First Fruits plans solar water heating system
First Fruits Marketing of Washington, the marketing arm of Yakima, Wash.-based grower-shippers Broetje Orchards and Congdon Orchards, is taking a step ahead in sustainability, said Jim Hazen, business manager for Broetje Orchards.
Broetje has plans in the spring to begin construction on a solar-powered hot water system in its packing facility, Hazen said.
“Probably, by next harvest, it will be up and running,” he said.
Mastronardi expands, earns certification
Kingsville, Ontario-based Mastronardi Produce Ltd.’s greenhouse facility in Coldwater, Mich., is in the midst of its second phase of expansion, said Daniela Ferro, Mastronardi spokeswoman.
When the project is completed, Coldwater will become a Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program-verified farm, Ferro said.
Mastronardi’s headquarters in Kingsville also is expanding to create a new warehouse space, Ferro said.
Ocean Mist assesses pest management
Castroville, Calif.-based Ocean Mist Farms is working with Soquel, Calif.-based sustainability consulting firm SureHarvest to obtain independent assessment of specific areas within Ocean Mist’s sustainability program, said Afreen Malik, Ocean Mist’s director of technical services.
The main focus is on Integrated Pest Management, Malik said.
“Our plan is to learn from this exercise, share results with our employees and customers, make necessary improvements defined within a clear timeline, and expand this approach to other areas of the sustainability program,” Malik said.
Organics Unlimited drills wells for bananas
Recent sustainability efforts at San Diego-based Organics Unlimited include drilling wells on the company’s farms to provide clean water to its banana plants to reduce standing water and complications it can create, said president Mayra Velazquez de Leon.
“This also provides a more consistent supply of water throughout the year without being as reliant on seasonal rains,” she said.
PalletWrapz broadens customer base
Chicago-based PalletWrapz Inc., which specializes in manufacturing reusable stretch wraps for produce and other product shipping applications, is growing its client base to include larger-scale customers than before, said Matt Jacobs, president and owner-partner.
Rio Farms focuses on water resources
King City, Calif.-based Rio Farms LLC, a growing arm of Oxnard, Calif.-based Gills Onions, is expanding its capability to track water resources, said Nikki Rodoni, sustainability director for Gills Onions/Rio Farms.