Giumarra Agricom International LLC, Escondido, Calif., has added 10,000 square-feet of cooler space, says Bruce Dowhan, general manager. The Escondido facility now has nine cold rooms, he says, some of which double as ripening rooms to help the company meet increasing demand for ripened avocados. ( Tom Burfield )

Del Rey purchases New Jersey plant

Fallbrook, Calif.-based Del Rey Avocado Co. Inc. has purchased the Millbridge Farm Inc. facility in Vineland, N.J., said Bob Lucy, partner with Del Rey.

The company plans a 25,000-square-foot expansion at the plant, which has cold storage, ripening and bagging capabilities,

"That's very promising for us," Lucy said.

Millbridge Farms will continue to maintain its office there.

Del Rey already uses the location to serve East Coast customers, Lucy said.

The expansion should be completed in late summer, and the facility will handle fruit from Peru, Chile and Mexico.

"It's a real solid improvement for us," Lucy said.


Giumarra adds two cold rooms

Giumarra Agricom International LLC, Escondido, Calif., has added two cold rooms, said Bruce Dowhan, general manager. The 10,000-square-foot addition brings the number of coolers at the facility to nine.

Some of the coolers can be used as ripening rooms as well as for storage, Dowhan said, and will help the company meet its "expanding ripening requirements."

Part of the new cooler has expanded cooling capacity to bring the fruit temperature down quickly, he said.

Giumarra has two packinghouses for California growers, he said. The Escondido location serves southern growers, and a newer one in Ventura is focused on the northern growing region.


Henry increases organic volume

Henry Avocado, Escondido, Calif., has increased its volume of organic avocados and has once again added ripening rooms, said president Phil Henry.

The company started converting acreage to organic production about seven or eight years ago, Henry said. Now, 10% of its volume is organic.

"We've added a few growers into the mix," he said, as a result of strong demand for organic avocados.

Also, the company now has 95 ripening rooms at facilities in California, Texas and Arizona.

Over the past year, seven ripening rooms were added in Houston, one in Phoenix, one near San Jose, Calif., and five in Escondido.


Index Fresh offers grower app

Index Fresh Inc., Riverside, Calif., keeps its growers up to speed with an app called Fresh Facts by Index Fresh.

The app is updated on a daily basis during avocado season and contains industry harvest, inventory, shipments and estimated grower-return information, said Giovanni Cavaletto, vice president of sourcing.

The app, which may be accessed from Apple and Android operating systems, also provides online access to the company's quarterly newsletter and articles of interest to California growers.

Also at Index Fresh, Lisa Strickland has joined the company as field food safety representative. She will partner with the company's field staff to support growers with food safety compliance.

She most recently was food safety director for an organic leafy greens grower.


Mission promotes optical sorter

Oxnard, Calif.-based Mission Produce Inc. is in its third season in its high-tech packing facility, said LeighAnne Thomsen, marketing manager.

The company is particularly proud of its 10-lane optical sorter that features a camera for each lane that takes 10 pictures of each piece of fruit, detecting scarring or other defects.

The camera system can sort for color, size and specific parameters, such as export, domestic or foodservice quality.

It's the first optical sorter in the avocado industry, the company says, and can sort millions of pieces of fruit each day, "offering consistency across the board."

"We can really control quality," Thomsen said.

Mission once again is offering its California bag design for interested customers.

The full-wrap mesh bag features the California Avocados logo, a recipe and other information.

The bag holds as many avocados as customers request, up to 2 pounds, she said.