Mulholland Citrus, an Orange Cove, Calif.-based citrus grower shipper of primarily mandarins, is joining the Sunkist Growers Inc. cooperative.

“In the four generations of our family’s farming history, Mulholland Citrus has enjoyed a longstanding relationship with Sunkist and we are pleased to now be joining the cooperative,” said Heather Mulholland, chief operating officer.

Projected to pack 8 million 5-pound carton equivalents of mandarins annually, Mulholland Citrus will join the network of packinghouses that comprise the Sunkist cooperative.

“Sunkist’s quality promise is central to our brand, and we deliver on that promise by working with best-in-class growers and shippers,” Sunkist’s president and CEO, Russ Hanlin, said in a news release.

Mulholland Citrus will begin packing under the Sunkist brand Nov. 1.

“Along with their volume, Mulholland Citrus brings valuable experience and knowledge to Sunkist,” John Striff, Sunkist senior vice president and COO, said in the release.

Mulholland brings its Delite mandarin to Sunkist, Heather Mulholland said.

Tom Mulholland, the company’s CEO, introduced easy-peel murcott mandarins to the market 20 years ago, Heather Mulholland said.

Tom Mulholland said he is pleased with the Sunkist relationship for Delites.

“It’s always gratifying to get some recognition, but we’re looking at getting a good product and supplying the consumer with something we can manage,” he said.

The deal “essentially doubles” Sunkist mandarin volume, Heather Mulholland said.

Also new at Mulholland Citrus this year, the company has invested in updated weighers and baggers at a Wawona Packing Co.-owned packing facility in Cutler, Calif., Heather Mulholland said.

“We’re in our 11th year in the packing facility, so it’s really going to dial in the accuracy,” she said. “It’s just streamlining the facility. Everything we have in place is stainless steel, optimal ability for cleaning and sanitation.”

Wawona Packing uses the facility for its stone fruit in season, Mulholland said, noting that her company owns the packing line equipment there.

 
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