(June 2) LAKE FOREST, Calif. — Signing a long-term deal with Riverside-based Corona College Heights, Prime Produce International LLC has entered into its first marketing agreement with a California avocado grower-shipper.

Prime Produce expects to market 400,000 cartons of conventional and organic California avocados through the deal.

Prime Produce was opened this spring by Avi Crane, who left Calavo Growers Inc. this winter.

Corona College Heights is a 110-year-old citrus cooperative that has packed organic avocados for two years.

“This is a logical move for our organization,” said John Demshki, president of Corona College Heights. “There is a demand for a viable cooperative avocado entity in California, and we are well positioned to fill this need successfully.”

Demshki pointed out that his cooperative packs about 6 million cartons of citrus a year and that it could use that economy of scale to offer California avocado growers a competitive packing rate and the marketing expertise of Prime Produce.

Under the deal, Corona College Heights will pack the avocados, and Prime Produce will sell them. First grade avocados will be under the Prime label and second grade will be under the El Toro label. Offshore fruit will be in exporter labels, said Dick Keim, director of sales for Prime Produce.