(Sept. 18) ORANGE COVE, Calif. — The latest in a series of major moves at Booth Ranches LLC, one of California’s largest family-owned and operated grower-shippers, is establishing its own marketing staff.

Loren Booth, co-owner and general manager, said the effort will be headed by Dan Spain, vice president of sales and marketing. Spain, who joined the company Aug. 28, came to Booth Ranches from Fresh Fruit Logistics Inc., Rancho Dominguez Hills, where he was vice president of marketing and merchandising.

DNE California Inc., Visalia, had been marketing the company’s navel and valencia crops for several years, Booth said.

Booth Ranches has about 6,000 acres of citrus in Fresno, Tulare and Kern counties, Spain said. The majority of that acreage is in navels and valencias.

The company’s fruit has been sold under the Ocean Spray label, he said, adding that a new label is being developed should be finalized before the navel harvest begins in November.

Doug Trask, formerly with the Bakersfield office of Sun Pacific Shippers, Los Angeles, is director of sales for the new marketing group. On his sales side are Mary Sue Olson, who joined Booth Ranches from the Visalia office of DiMare Fresh Inc. in January, and Keith Ford, who joined Sept. 7. Ford previously worked for Bee Sweet Citrus Inc., Fowler.

Booth said the company also grows some specialty citrus such as satsumas, clementines and lemons. Bee Sweet Citrus, she said, will continue to market those crops.

She said the transition to in-house marketing began last year when Trask joined the company and jointly marketed the Booth Ranches’ crops with DNE California.

Mark Hanks, director of sales and marketing for DNE World Fruit Sales, Fort Pierce, Fla., said that when DNE World Fruit Sales became aware of the direction Booth Ranches was taking, his company opted to cancel the marketing agreement.

“We have the greatest respect for Loren Booth and Booth Ranches and look forward to working with Booth Ranches again in the future,” Hanks said.