Calavo Growers expands Michoacan facility

Calavo Growers Inc., Santa Paula, Calif., responded to growing avocado consumption in the U.S. by expanding its Uruapan, Mexico, facility and increasing the square footage of the facility by 75%.

Calavo Growers Inc. completed a major expansion in August 2012 of its Uruapan, Mexico, packinghouse in the state of Michoacan, nearly tripling the capacity.

But the Santa Paulo, Calif.-based company continues to make smaller improvements to the facility to boost throughput even further, said Rob Wedin, vice president of sales and fresh marketing.

One of the major pinch points had been receiving, he said. That area has been totally retooled.

“I’m sure with some of the process improvements and other things we’re working on that we’ll be able to hit record numbers,” Wedin said.

The improvements also should help Calavo continue to meet its self-imposed schedule of shipping avocados within 16 hours of packing.

C.H. Robinson to market Green Giant avocados

Eden Prairie, Minn.-based C.H. Robinson has become the exclusive marketer of Green Giant Fresh avocados. For the Mexican season, avocados will be available in five-count mesh bags and bulk, said Michael Castagnetto, strategic category manager.

The Green Giant Fresh brand also features Box Tops for Education, a school fund-raising program.

A three-count, gusseted grab-and-go bag is in the works and will be added to packaging options.

The clear plastic bag will feature recipes, serving and storage information, and quick-response codes.

Giumarra names marketing director

Industry veteran Gary Caloroso has joined Giumarra Agricom International LLC and Giumarra Borquez LLC, both based in Escondido, Calif., as marketing director.

In that role, he will work with customers to expand avocado and asparagus sales.

“We’re there to help them with customized marketing programs to help sell more avocados, sell more asparagus and really increase consumption,” Caloroso said. “We approach our customers as partners there to customize their marketing plans.”

In addition, he is a marketing committee member as well as an alternative board member on the California Avocado Commission and the Mexican Hass Importers Association.

Caloroso brings with him decades of agency experience, where he provided public relations and marketing expertise to clients, including the Georgia Blueberry Council, Georgia Peach Council, Almond Board of California, Hass Avocado Board, Chilean Avocado Importers Association, Grimmway Farms and a large retailer.

Green Earth Produce hires sales veteran

Terence Kelley has joined Green Earth Produce as a salesman

In the past, he has held sales, operations and managerial roles in the produce industry and has experience with mangoes and avocados, according to a news release.

Kelley comes to the Vernon, Calif.-based firm from Pacific Trellis Fruit. Before that, he spent 14 years with Vancouver, British Columbia-based The Oppenheimer Group.

He will “add a key element to our expanding avocado program and bring some experienced mango knowledge to the team,” Gahl Crane, director, said in the release.

Hass board kicks off program en Español

The Irvine, Calif.-based Hass Avocado Board has launched a campaign and website in Spanish — Saborea Uno Hoy — to encourage consumers to include fresh hass avocados with every meal.

Much like the English effort, the board’s Spanish program includes the words “aguacates frescos,” or “fresh avocados,” as well as “naturalmente grasas buenas + sin cholesterol,” or “naturally good fats + without cholesterol,” according to a news release.

This also is the board’s first Spanish website ( that features nutritional and research information, tips and recipes.

In addition, the board enlisted nutritionist Malena Perdomo as the spokeswoman for Saborea Uno Hoy.

West Pak Avocado upgrades packing capability

Murrieta, Calif.-based West Pak Avocado Inc. has just completed a major expansion at its Uruapan packinghouse that included replacing an existing packing line and adding a second one.

Now, one line will be dedicated to product destined for the U.S., while the other will handle fruit for Mexico and other export markets, said Doug Meyer, vice president of sales and marketing.

The expansion was prompted by increasing demand for Mexican avocados, he said.