Citrus Marketing: Business updates

01/20/2012 10:00:00 AM
Jim Offner

Bee Sweet Citrus expands storage

Bee Sweet Citrus Inc., Fowler, Calif., recently completed a cold-storage expansion and expects to finish another this year, said James Sherwood, vice president.

“We just finished a new cold-storage facility that was 22,045 square feet in the summer, and the other one will be 22,050 square feet,” he said.

The first opened last summer. The second should finish by June 1, Sherwood said.

Booth Ranches markets fruit from two growers

Orange Cove, Calif.-based Booth Ranches LLC is breaking from tradition by selling fruit it has not grown itself, said Neil Galone, vice president of sales.

The navel and valencia orange grower-shipper, under the ownership of Loren Booth, is working with two growers to ship 15-20 loads of w. murcott mandarins each week from January through March.

The fruit is being packed by Reedley, Calif.-based stone fruit grower-shipper Enns Packing Co. Inc.

“The only thing we’ve packed and sold was fruit we grew ourselves, but we’ve had demand from customers to try to expand our product line,” Galone said.

“What they’re saying is it would be nice if we had some other items.”

The move is part of the company’s evolution as a marketer, Galone said.

Johnston Farms ramps up mandarins

Bakersfield, Calif.-based Johnston Farms is accelerating its satsuma mandarin program, said Dennis Johnston, partner in the grower-shipper.

“We have other varieties of mandarins we’re actually producing in February and March, where, before, we didn’t have anything other than the satsuma,” he said.

“The Tahoe gold is a new variety that’s starting to catch on. The w. murcott is a new late-season variety, but we’re using some of those as stem-and-leaf and that’s working very well. That’s been our main growth is in the mandarin business.”

The company’s production is trending upward, Johnston said.

“I’d say we typically produce about 300,000 packages, and this year we’ll produce about 350,000 of mandarins. We’re a fairly small shipper, so for us to go up 50,000 cartons a year, that’s something.”

LoBue Citrus adds equipment, storage

Lindsay, Calif.-based citrus grower-shipper LoBue Citrus has been in expansion mode, said Tom Wollenman, general manager.

“We built a new cold storage and are revamping part of our line and adding bagging equipment,” Wollenman said.


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