The expanded acreage and packing operations necessitated a larger staff, evidenced by a series of temporary offices stationed around the company’s Orange Cove headquarters. A new administrative and sales office is scheduled to be completed by the start of the navel season in early November, Galone said.
Loren Booth credits much of her success to the California Agricultural Leadership program, put on by the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation.
“It gave me a vision,” she said. “It gave me the tools to see the whole picture.”
Roughly 75% of the company’s oranges is navels and 25% is valencias, Galone said. But about 40% of the groves are young trees that are not yet producing commercial crops.
The company also grows, but does not market, some specialty citrus.
“We decided it was best to do one thing and do it well,” Booth said.
The projected volume for the 2009-10 season is 2.4 million cartons, Galone said.
As the young trees mature, volume is expected to more than double to 5 million cartons in the 2012-13 season, he said, and that will mean growing pains for Mitch Butler, plant manager of the former Sunny Cove facility, known as Plant 2.
“Plant 2 increased our cold storage capacity by 35%, but when those trees reach maturity we won’t be able to handle the volume,” he said.
Does that mean more expansion is on the horizon?
“There’s nothing in the works,” Booth said, “But we always look at opportunities.”
Whatever the future holds for Booth Ranches, it is likely the days of flying below the radar are over.