KINGSBURG, Calif. — After two years in Visalia, Valhalla Sales & Marketing Co. has re-established its headquarters in Kingsburg and launched Valhalla Farms, a new vegetable division.
“Our new offices are just minutes away from our company-owned acreage and our storage facilities,” said David Stone, co-owner.
The company’s new telephone number is (559) 897-6000.
A new face in the sales office is Mitch Ritchie, co-owner of Kingsburg-based Family Fruit Farms, which has for nearly 30 years concentrated on late-season table grape varieties. In 2010, Family Fruit Farms began marketing the fruit in house.
“The load was more than I could handle by myself,” Ritchie said.
Joining forces with Valhalla Sales & Marketing resolved the problem and will add substantial volume to Valhalla’s domestic table grape program launched in 2010. Ritchie will continue to oversee growing operations at Family Fruit Farms while simultaneously working the sales desk at Valhalla.
“We are now offering year-round service to our customers,” Stone said. “In addition to growing our own fruit, we’re marketing agents for other independent grower-packers.”
Fruit marketed by Valhalla will continue to carry the Valhalla label in addition to the Family Fruit Farms, Sihota Farms and Tarzen labels packed by the Ritchie family. The company also markets Gene Anderson and Del Mar Farms labeled fruit, Stone said.
David Stone (left) and Mitch Ritchie, partners in newly-formed Valhalla Farms, check land that has been readied for vegetable planting.
Valhalla’s inventory includes winter citrus and Chilean grapes. The company’s domestic grape program begins in May in the Coachella Valley, Stone said, and will continue into December. Valhalla also markets stone fruit starting with apricots, which traditionally begin shipping in mid-May, he said, valencia oranges in summer and fall specialty crops such as pomegranates and persimmons.
Stone and Ritchie are partners in Valhalla Farms. They purchased the assets of Fowler-based Jungle King of California Inc., including farmland, field and packing line equipment and the rights to the Jungle King label.
Planting of eggplant, Italian sweet onions and assorted varieties of peppers and squash is scheduled to begin soon, Ritchie said.
“We’ll begin shipping limited supplies of vegetables in late June or early July,” he said.
The partners in Valhalla Farms already own acreage that will permit the company to expand production in coming years, Stone said.
A growing segment of Valhalla Sales & Marketing’s business is export, Stone said. The company ships stone fruit to Chile.
“We had a pretty good increase last year, and I think it’s going to increase even more this year,” Stone said.