In early July, Watsonville, Calif.-based California Giant Inc., received, packed and cooled blueberries in its new 40,000-square-foot facility in Aurora, Ore.

Cindy Jewell, director of marketing, said the facility uses forced-air cooling to remove the field heat from blueberries and start the cold chain earlier and more efficiently. Forced-air cooling is used in its strawberry facilities, she said.

The Aurora cooling and packing facility is expected to provide better quality blueberries and to provide California Giant with a stronger presence in the Pacific Northwest, Jewell said.

“We really staked our claim up there. We’re there to stay,” she said. “We’re building relationships with growers up there and helping them deliver a better product.”