(Sept. 20) FORT PIERCE, Fla. — DNE World Fruit Sales, one of the nation’s largest independent citrus marketers, has increased its orange production by about 1 million cartons with the addition of San Antonio Orchard Co., Visalia, Calif., as one of its suppliers.

The addition will provide DNE with a high volume of navel and valencia oranges to supply its customer base. DNE ships about 16 million to 18 million cartons of citrus annually, said David Mixon, DNE vice president.

Sunkist Growers Inc., Sherman Oaks, Calif., previously marketed San Antonio Orchard Co.’s oranges.

Mixon said the addition of San Antonio Orchard Co.’s navel crop is a critical piece in growing DNE’s year-round citrus program.

Mixon said the addition of San Antonio Orchard as a supplier will increase DNE’s orange volume by about 1 million cartons annually.

San Antonio Orchard Co. is managed by citrus industry veteran Paul Story, a longtime grower and packer in California’s San Joaquin Valley.

“We made the decision to affiliate with DNE in the long-term best interest of our growers,” Story said. “We were particularly impressed with DNE’s global sourcing strategy and its ability to supply a top quality year-round multivariety marketing program to its national accounts.”

W.H. Latimer Trust owns San Antonio Orchard Co. It moved its major operations from Southern California to the Central Valley two years ago. Since then, the company has grown, Mixon said.

The company is in the process of completing the purchase of a citrus packing plant in Porterville, Calif., to handle its expanded volume.

DNE is the exclusive licensee of the Ocean Spray trademark for fresh citrus.