Giumarra expands avocado packing facility

giumarrayeah The Giumarra Cos. avocado division has increased its ability to both ripen and bag fruit with an expansion at its Escondido, CA, packing and distribution plant.

“For our Escondido facility, we have added 10 new ripening rooms and additional bagging capability that will increase our bags by 25 percent,” said Regional Business Development Director Gary Caloroso. “These improvements to our Escondido facility will help us with retail and foodservice customers.”

The Giumarra executive said that selling avocados in retail bags and conditioning the fruit prior to shipment are both industry trends that continue unabated. In fact, demand for avocados appears to be almost unlimited.

“We are very excited about this year’s California avocado season,” he told The Produce News on March 11. “We have a bigger crop, which means a lot more options for our customers.”

In sheer numbers, California does not come close to matching the avocado volume from Mexico on an annual basis, but with a 2020 crop expected to be at least 70 percent greater than 2019, it will clearly make its mark this year.

“The California avocado deal is very important to us,” Caloroso said. “I believe we are the only avocado shipper with two packinghouses in California.”

Besides its Escondido operation, which mostly handles fruit from San Diego and Riverside counties, Giumarra also has a packingshed in Ventura, which packs fruit from Ventura County and other more northern growing districts. “We have a strong presence in the north,” Caloroso said, adding that will enable the company to have fruit a bit later in the season.

California growers have begun picking their fruit and February and March shipments were much stronger than originally anticipated. The bulk of the production will be shipped from April through July, with solid shipments in August as well because of the size of this year’s crop.

“We will be shipping through at least Labor Day,” he said. “The market is very strong right now and we expect California to be shipping volume for the next several months, taking advantage of Cinco de Mayo, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July holidays.”

Each of those spring to summer holidays are very strong promotional periods for avocados.

Returning to the company’s bagging capabilities, Caloroso said Giumarra works with each of its customers to fashion individual programs featuring the size fruit that they desire.

“Bags offer incremental sales,” he added, meaning they do not tend to cannibalize sales from the individual avocado bin. “Demand for avocados continues to grow. It’s fantastic.”

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