Santa Paula, Calif.-based Calavo Growers Inc. also involved in the program.
“The Calavo GAP team and some of our major growers helped lead the process,” said Rob Wedin, vice president of sales and fresh marketing.
As of early February, more than 25% of the company’s large growers were certified, and Wedin expects 85% of Calavo’s California volume to GAP certified by July.
“We’ve made some tremendous progress,” he said.
Industry takes the lead
Many of Temecula-based Eco-Farms Corp.’s groves have been certified as part of an ongoing program, said Steve Taft, president and chief executive officer.
“It’s a must,” Taft said, adding that it’s better that the industry take the lead than the government.
“Who knows avocados better than those in the business?” he asked.
The industry has done a good job setting up the guidelines and getting out the word to growers, Lucy said.
Melban said he is encouraged by how quickly growers have adopted the program in just the past two to three months.
The first workshops took place in February.