The company will add equipment, including new electronic sizers and graders. LoBue Bros. will continue to offer one-stop consolidation for all of its citrus.
“You only have to come to one house to pick up your specialties and your navels,” LoBue said.
The company also had an outstanding export deal last year, LoBue said.
“We exported about 50% of our product — the highest we’ve ever been.”
LoBue Bros. exports navel and valencia oranges and 90% of its minneolas. The company exports navels mostly to Japan and South Korea as well as throughout Southeast Asia, Australia and South America. Minneolas go mostly to Japan.
Pacific Organic doubles navel volume
Organic navel orange volume from Pacific Organic Produce/Purity Organic, San Francisco, should double this year, said John Stair, domestic commodity manager.
Stair attributes the increase to a couple of its growers who ramped up their acreage and to the fact that “the trees appear to be more loaded this season,” in line with conventional volume increases.
The firm already has begun shipping lemons and grapefruit from the desert growing area and should see heavier volume in those commodities, as well.
Organic lemons should ship from the desert into February, and grapefruit should continue through April.
Paramount Citrus to open Cuties facility
Paramount Citrus Association Inc., Dinuba, Calif., will open a 625,000-square-foot packing facility for Cuties brand clementines in early November, said president David Krause.
The company also acquired Healds Valley Farms Inc., Edinburg, Texas, this summer, which will give Paramount Citrus thousands of acres of oranges and grapefruit in Texas and add Healds Valley red grapefruit to its product line.
“We are happy to have them in the fold,” Krause said. “We’re excited to add that product to our portfolio.”
New grading line for Seald Sweet product
Fresh Select LLC, Dinuba, Calif., the company that packs citrus for Dinuba-based Seald Sweet West International Inc., has installed a new grading and sorting line, said Rick Eastes, vice president and general manager for Seald Sweet West.
The system will include electronic eyes to accurately assess grade, color and size of fruit, he said.
It will be especially important for the company’s lemon crop, which should increase over the next year.
In all, Seald Sweet West’s navel, lemon and clementine volume should be up about 30% this year.