Business updates: Citrus Marketing

01/25/2010 12:22:00 PM
Bob Luder

Booth Ranches makes addition to sales staff

Orange Cove, Calif.-based Booth Ranches LLC hired Tracy Jones from Valentine Produce in August to handle the company’s domestic citrus sales.

The company also recently purchased a new packinghouse, taking over the old home of Sunny Cove Citrus, which closed.

“We’re making some modifications,” said Neil Galone, vice president of sales for Booth. “Customers should not be able to tell which house product came from.”

Galone also said the company has broken ground for a new office facility in Orange Cove that should be ready by August.

Diversified increases space for valencias

Lake Hamilton, Fla.-based Diversified Citrus Marketing is increasing its summer storage program for valencia oranges so that the company can continue to sell the variety well into July.

“We’re trying to extend the variety so that we can have citrus available to customers year-round,” said Al Finch, director of marketing.

Florida Department of Citrus makes hire

The Florida marketing and promotions body for fresh citrus recently hired Bradley Ruhmann as the organization’s marketing coordinator.

He joined the organization in November.

Ruhmann, who previously held marketing positions with government and sports marketing companies in the Lakeland area, works closely with Amy Carpenter, the department’s fresh marketing manager, in promoting fresh Florida oranges, grapefruit and specialty citrus items.

“He does a lot of our Web site coordination,” Carpenter said. “He adds a lot of new information onto the site.”

The department also is getting ready to move into a new office building in Bartow.

The commission, which was formed in 1935, held its first commission meeting in the new building Dec. 16 and plans to make the move permanent in February.

Packers of Indian River replants 100 acres

The Packers of Indian River Ltd., Fort Pierce, Fla., intends on going against the prevailing grain among Florida citrus growers this year.

In an age where many growers are reducing acres because of canker and greening eradication for the fear of disease, the company plans to replant about 100 acres during 2010, said Paul Genke, director of sales and marketing.

“We have to replace some of our groves if we’re going to maintain supply to our customer base,” Genke said.

Paramount tries hand at organic oranges

Paramount Citrus Association Inc., Delano, Calif., is in the first year of an organic valencia program.

“We’re getting closer to shipping organic valencias year-round,” said Scott Owens, vice president of sales and marketing. “Because we’re such a large shipper, we believe it’s important that we be a complete, one-stop shop. We want to be a place where people can pick up the phone and pretty much find any item they want.

“Our organic valencia program is an important step toward that.”

Rio Queen works out of new packinghouse

After a fire took out one of its packinghouses in 2008, Mission, Texas-based Rio Queen Citrus Inc. constructed and opened a 147,000-square-foot packinghouse last spring.

“It’s very modern,” said Mike Martin, president. “We took a lot of time to work through and think about efficiencies. It’s really working out well.”

Rio Queen grows on 5,500 acres and ships between 2 million and 2.25 million cartons of grapefruit, and another 600,000-700,000 cartons of oranges annually.

Sunkist Growers unveils stand-up citrus bags

Sunkist Growers Inc., Sherman Oaks, Calif., recently introduced its Giro “Stand Up Grab Bags” for minneola tangerines, cara caras, navels and moro blood oranges.

The new bag’s stand-up feature offers prominent display of the Sunkist brand with ample room for recipes and nutrition information as well as high visibility of the fruit.

The bags also come with a two-hole grip at the top for easy carrying.

Sun World International moves corporate offices

Sun World International Inc. recently moved its corporate offices downtown, into the heart of Bakersfield, Calif., said Gene Coughlin, category manager for oranges and lemons.

The company’s corporate offices had been located within its packinghouse on the outskirts of the city, but Coughlin said it was past time for an upgrade.

“It was kind of a space issue, upgrading our surroundings,” he said. “It gives us more of a business look, I guess.”

Texas Citrus Mutual battles citrus greening

Mission-based Texas Citrus Mutual’s Ray Prewett said his organization is “focusing a tremendous amount of energy on battling citrus greening,” including supporting research efforts at the University of Texas A&M-Kingsville.

This month, Prewett said Texas Citrus Mutual is going to be taking a more direct role in coordinating with growers on an area-wide psyllid control program.

“We’re going to be heavily involved in that,” Prewett said.

Valhalla Sales adds cara cara trees

Valhalla Sales & Marketing Co., Kingsburg, Calif., plans to add 20 acres of cara cara trees in 2010.

“They’re young trees, so they’re not fruit bearing yet,” said Steve Nelsen, managing partner.
“We picked up a new grower, who has some valencias, navels and some cara cara trees. We told them we’d market them for him.”

Nelsen said there’s a good market locally for cara caras, sometimes known as pink navels.

“We’ll pack them in half cartons, high teens, low 20s,” Nelsen said.

Yuma Mesa Fruit Growers picks up Asian markets

The Yuma Mesa Fruit Growers Association, Yuma, Ariz., has been strengthening its sales presence in southeast Asian markets — specifically China and Hong Kong. The company has been dealing in a variety of commodities, but has concentrated on lemons.

“On domestic sales, we’re down 20%,” said general manager Mike Aguirre. “By picking up new markets, we pick up another 10%. It makes up for where we’re short in other areas.”



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