Visalia, Calif.-based Seald Sweet West International Inc. plans to increase its citrus volume by 60% this season and expand shipments of other products thanks to a partnership agreement with Dinuba-based Fresh Select LLC.
Fresh Select recently purchased the virtually new Z&S packing facilities in Dinuba and will pack Seald Sweet citrus.
The facilities have large-capacity de-greening rooms, cold storage and a high-volume packing line with the latest technology, said Rick Eastes, Seald Sweet West’s vice president and general manager.
Seald Sweet expects to move to the Dinuba site this fall.
The company plans to pack navel oranges, lemons, select mandarin varieties and valencias during the 2012 season.
“This partnership will give SSW the full integration it needs to service the packing and marketing needs of our expanding grower base and package our citrus to every pack style requirement our buying customers may require,” Eastes said.
The agreement also will provide Seald Sweet and Fresh Select with “entrée into a whole range of fruit packing and marketing opportunities in the future,” he added.
The company plans to ship 1.6 million cartons of citrus, cherries, grapes and miscellaneous items during the coming season.
“We have the capacity to exceed 2 million cartons in the very near future with no additional investment in infrastructure,” Eastes said.
Seald Sweet’s parent company, Belgium-based Univeg Group, has big plans for Seald Sweet West.
“California is a logical extension of Univeg’s desire to represent the best fresh produce from the world’s most important growing regions,” Eastes said.
“Our goal is to become part and parcel of the California fruit-growing, packing and marketing scene to service not only our North American buyers but to export via our global distribution network worldwide.”
Seald Sweet also plans to market fresh cherries in season from several San Joaquin Valley and Santa Clara County cherry growers, and the company will expand the variety mix and market timing of its table grape deal by expanding with some new growers in 2012, Eastes said.
The program will include Mexican and California growers.