(Sept. 27) San Antonio Orchard Co. LLC is rejoining Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based Sunkist Growers Marketing Cooperative for sales of its citrus packed in Porterville, Calif., at the start of the 2005-06 season, both companies said Sept. 27.
Riverside, Calif.-based San Antonio Orchard is renewing an association with Sunkist after a four-year separation. The company had been part of Fort Pierce, Fla.-based DNE World Fruit Sales’network since November 2001.
“The new volume will help us continue to meet the demands for a quality product our customers have come to expect,” Sunkist president and chief executive officer Jeff Gargiulo said in a news release. He added that San Antonio Orchard brings a new group of growers into membership of the Central California Citrus Growers Association, a voluntary information-based group that pushes for higher grower returns.
San Antonio Orchard is owned by the W.H. Latimer Trust, a creation of Wilbur Hugh Latimer, whose family grew citrus in Southern California from 1912 until 1997, when Latimer died. The trust shifted operations from Riverside to the Central San Joaquin Valley in 2001.
San Antonio Orchard produces about 900,000 boxes of fresh oranges per year, according to general manager Randy Ishida. About 85% of production is navels and 15% valencias, he said.
Sunkist has about 6,000 citrus growers in California and Arizona and has 48 packinghouses. The co-op says it markets 65% of the fresh citrus grown in the Western U.S.