(April 18, 1:04 p.m.) Signaling an end to nearly six decades of producing tree fruit and table grapes, P-R Farms Inc., Clovis, Calif., has reached agreements with two other central California grower-packer-shippers.

P-R Farms maintains ownership of the program, but Ballantine Produce Co., Sanger, will grow, pack and market the company’s stone fruit and Fowler Packing Co. Inc., Fowler, will take over the same tasks at the table grape vineyards of P-R Farms.

Both agreements are effective immediately, said Pat Ricchuiti, president of P-R Farms, on April 17.

With Ricchuiti’s son, Vincent, spearheading the effort, the Clovis-based company has been expanding its almond acreage in recent years while pulling out stone fruit orchards.

“We dropped our volume from a little over 1.2 million cartons to under 800,000 cartons of stone fruit,” Ricchuiti said. “It was difficult to compete with people who were producing 4 million to 6 million packages.”

P-R Farms has about 160 acres of vineyards, mostly flames and thompson seedless grapes, said Justin Parnagian, sales manager at Fowler Packing.

“What’s great about this agreement is that the P-R Farms acreage is only about five miles from our packinghouse,” Parnagian said.

Fowler Packing employees are already working the field, and the company plans to farm the vineyard long term, he said.

Ballantine Produce grows, packs and ships stone fruit and table grapes.

“We are proud to be able to provide the stewardship to preserve and grow the value of the significant tree fruit farming tradition of the Ricchuiti Family,” said David Albertson, a partner in Ballantine Produce in a prepared statement.

In addition to almonds, P-R Farms grows, packs and markets citrus and apple crops and will continue to do so for the immediate future, Ricchuiti said. The family is evaluating different opportunities that, he said, could eventually lead to another grower-shipper’s harvesting, packing and marketing the fruit. The company also has olive acreage.