Edinburg Citrus Association adds acreage
The Edinburg, Texas-based Edinburg Citrus Association has expanded acreage by 35% , said Jeffrey Arnold, salesman.
The co-op also has “streamlined” its production area with the addition of automated packing machines, Arnold said.
“We have also planted numerous acres of citrus this year and are in the process of purchasing more, which will be in production in the next year or two,” he said.
Lone Star Citrus Growers expands plant
Mission, Texas-based Lone Star Citrus Growers has added to its facility, said Trent Bishop, vice president of sales.
“We have an entirely new production area, with a new bagging machine, and we put in two pattern-pack machines to keep up with our growing demand,” he said.
Pattern machines mimic the way a human worker would place product in a carton by hand, he said.
“The purpose of that whole new area is when we run up against running out of man hours to keep up with our production, this expands what we’re able to pack in a day,” he said.
The addition is about 3,000 square feet, Bishop said.
“It’s pretty compact and all pre-manufactured and engineered in California, and they put it together here,” he said.
Lone Star is a co-packer for Sunkist Growers Inc.
Bishop declined to divulge Lone Star’s packing capacity with the new equipment, but said the improvements should increase production 30%.
New Paramount Citrus label shows Texas pride
Delano, Calif.-based Paramount Citrus, whose new Texas operations are based in Mission, is introducing a Texas label this season, said David Krause, president.
That’s just one of numerous changes happening, he said.
“We’re working on a marketing program and will be doing some test-market activities at retail, and we’re doing a lot of capital improvements at our facilities, in terms of better fruit handling, more automation, additional cold storage for better shelf life and condition on arrival,” he said.
This is Paramount’s first full year operating in Texas, where it has 10,000 acres, compared to about 30,000 in California, Krause said.
“This is a year for us to pull it all together,” he said.
South Texas Organics builds product line
Mission-based South Texas Organics LC has expanded its product line inside and outside the citrus category, said Dennis Holbrook, president.
“We’ve diversified into some more row crops and have some additional commodities to offer our customers,” Holbrook said.
South Texas Organics has 150 acres of row crops, including 50 in onions and 25-30 in cabbage and cauliflower, Holbrook said.
“We want to see how this goes, and our intent is to continue to grow those markets with those commodities and add new commodities as the market demands,” Holbrook said.
Sunkist Growers offer 3-pound Texas grapefruit bag
Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based Sunkist Growers Inc., which packs and ships citrus grown in Texas, is offering a 3-pound combo bag for Texas Rio Star grapefruit this year that features the company’s Not Your Mother’s Grapefruit marketing campaign, said Joan Wickham, manager of advertising and public relations.
“Research has indicated that millennial women are increasing grapefruit consumption, and Sunkist is leveraging this trend by introducing modern uses for grapefruit with the Not Your Mother’s Grapefruit campaign, aimed at reigniting the fruit’s popularity by educating younger consumers about this delicious, nutrient-rich superfood,” Wickham said.
An online grapefruit brochure with more information about the health and wellness benefits of grapefruit is available on Sunkist’s website, sunkist.com, she said.
Texas association transitions to new name
The Mission-based Texas International Produce Association has completed its first year under a new identity and new leadership.
Bret Erickson took over as president and chief executive officer of the organization in January, replacing John McClung, who is transitioning toward retirement, Erickson said.
The organization, formerly known as the Texas Produce Association, changed its corporate identity in August 2012.
“This year, we did the switch officially in titles, but John is still in from time to time, but he’ll probably retire fully by the end of the year,” said Erickson, who was hired as senior vice president of the association with an eye on moving into the retiring McClung’s slot.
Erickson, 38, is a native of Lawrence, Kan., although his family moved to South Texas when he was 7.
He was with Pioneer Hi-Bred/Dupont for about 12 years, nine years in Weslaco, involved with seed-corn production. He also spent three years as an assistant plant manager at a seed facility manager in Hawaii.