UPDATED: Paramount Citrus adds to Southwest infrastructure(UPDATED COVERAGE, June 28) Already California’s largest independent citrus grower-packer-shipper and fast becoming a major player in Mexico’s citrus industry, Delano, Calif.-based Paramount Citrus Association is now putting down roots in Texas.

The company has purchased from Border Cold Storage a 50,000-square-foot cold storage and packing facility in McAllen.

“It’s the continued growth of key citrus commodities that allows us to be a year-round supplier to our major customers in North America and around the world,” said Scott Owens, vice president of sales and marketing. “We truly want to be that ‘go to’ citrus company that grows it, packs it, ships it.”

Paramount president David Krause said the McAllen acquisition is a natural step in the company’s growth.

“Frankly, it’s a beginning,” Owens said. “With our footprint in McAllen, with the acreage that we have and the growth opportunities we’re looking at in Mexico, this is a very solid start with a very good facility in a really great location. “

The McAllen facility complements the navel, valencia, minneola, pomelo, grapefruit and clementine shipments from the Delano plant.

Paramount Citrus began its entry into Mexico in 2008 with the acquisition of 6,000 acres of lemon and lime orchards near the Gulf of Mexico. Earlier this year, the company agreed to purchase 9,500 acres of nearby lime groves, which Krause said at the time would make Paramount Citrus the largest vertically integrated provider of Persian limes in North America. The company also has built a packing facility near its Mexican acreage.

Paramount has been using a third-party facility to store and ship fruit coming out of Mexico, Owens said.

“Now it’s a Paramount operation from start to finish,” he said.

The new Paramount Citrus McAllen facility is within one mile of the Mexican border, putting it on the path the company’s fruit will take from Mexico to the U.S.

“That building is capable of handling all of our volume coming out of Mexico,” Owens said.

The company might expand its offerings from Mexico.

“Right now, the only things we’re actually doing are lemons and limes,” Owens said. “But that’s not to say that we won’t look at other opportunities in the citrus category.”