“A lot of what we do is encourage customers to get on that bandwagon and make a go of it,” he said. “The primary way is by helping them display ripe avocados at retail and have multiple displays, including consumer bags. We ripen close to a third of the fruit we sell, and we pack more than 1.5 million consumer bags a month.”
Wedin has climbed onto that bandwagon himself. He eats two to three avocados daily — with every breakfast and lunch, and sometimes with dinner.
“I’m not sick of them,” he said. “It helps that we have access to the best every week of the year.”
Those eating habits are part of a healthy lifestyle he’s pursued more vigorously in the last two years. He cut his work day to 10 hours to accommodate a 4-mile walk, which he also takes on days off.
“I turned a big corner on my personal health and don’t eat the high-calorie foods anymore,” he said. “When we raise a family, some of us lose focus on our own lives. When the kids go away and come back with grandchildren, the light starts to go on. What about yourself? I got organized and a lot more healthy.”
Wedin is one of several key supporters of two Calavo programs, ProRipe and VIP, that reshaped the company’s business in the last seven to 10 years. VIP verifies internal pressure and fruit firmness using acoustic sound waves. ProRipe combines sensing capability with ripening rooms and logistics. Besides Santa Paula, ProRipe is run out of Garland, Texas, and Swedesboro, N.J.
“The upgrade to our capability is night and day,” he said. “We move a lot of fruit on our own trucks. The f.o.b. business is by far a smaller portion of our business than it was.”
“He doesn’t let history get in the way,” said Mike Browne, vice president of fresh operations at Calavo. “Change used to be every four or five years, but now it’s constant and Rob thrives on that.”