Alpine Fresh Inc., a grower-packer-shipper of blueberries headquartered in Miami, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony March 28 to celebrate the opening of a new blueberry packingshed with Five Star Family Growers, based in Auburndale, FL.
The brand new, state-of-the-art facility is the result of a new partnership spearheaded by Stacy Spivey, director of the North American berry program for Alpine Fresh, between Alpine Fresh Inc. and Five Star Family Growers. The facility, located in Auburndale and known as Fresh Star, was built on 260 acres of blueberry fields and is estimated to house and pack approximately 1 million pounds of Florida grown blueberries this season.
This domestic operation will cover and enhance Alpine Fresh's 12-month blueberry program, supplying their customer's with high-quality product at a time when imported blueberries are not at their peak.
"Alpine Fresh is proud to partner with Randy Knapp and his family on this project," Walter Yager, chief executive officer of Alpine Fresh Inc., said in a press release. "The future of this industry for us is very exciting. It's one thing to go into something and say you want to do this. When you have this facility and this farm, it's a major stepping stone for us."
"Our goal is for this to be a bar-setter with the likes of Alpine as partners," Randy Knapp, a Five Star owner and managing member, added in the press release.
The event marked the grand opening of the facility as well as the beginning of the season for the Florida blueberry growers as harvesting and receiving began that same day.