(Jan. 31) REEDLEY, Calif. — Sun Valley Packing, a stone fruit grower-shipper, has joined the Summeripe Alliance, which produces preconditioned peaches, nectarines and plums.

Besides adding fruit to the Summeripe program, Sun Valley brings some newer varieties of stone fruit that have proven successful in preconditioning. The firm also has a modern ripening facility that will be used to condition Summeripe fruit.

Dave Botkin, general manager of Sun Valley Packing, said most of the new fruit varieties are nectarines. But the firm also is looking at new kinds of peaches and pluots, he said.

Sun Valley ships between 1.8 million and 2 million cartons of stone fruit annually, he said. Preconditioned fruit constitutes 30% to 40% of the business, Botkin said.

Sun Valley joins Mountain View Fruit Sales Inc., Reedley; Wes Pak Sales Inc., Dinuba; George Bros. Inc., Sultana; and The Oppenheimer Group, Vancouver, British Columbia, in the Summeripe program.

The Summeripe Alliance has hired industry veteran Pat Steider as vice president of marketing.

Steider, most recently director of produce for Bozzutos Inc., Chesire, Conn., will be based in Eden Prairie, Minn.

He said he already had experience in purchasing Summeripe fruit for his customers.

“When the opportunity to join Summeripe became available, it was an easy (decision) to make because of my past experience with their produce and program.”