(Jan. 23) YUMA, Ariz. — With an eye toward increased efficiencies during the winter desert vegetable deal, Oviedo, Fla.-based A. Duda & Sons Inc. has opened a new fresh produce pre-cooling facility in Yuma.

The $2.5 million precooler in Yuma’s produce shipping area is a partnership between Duda and Western Precooling Systems, Fremont, Calif.

“It will allow us to continue the same service we provide our customers from Salinas and Oxnard (Calif.),” said Bill Nunziati, general manager of Dandy Cooling LLC, Duda’s receiving and shipping concern owned by Duda and Western Precooling.

“We will be able to take the transition directly into Yuma. It will be a seamless move for everyone.”

Previously, Duda operated out of a commercial cooler in Yuma.

The 40,000-square-foot building has 12 loading bays and can store up to 50,000 cartons of desert lettuce, mixed leaf lettuce, broccoli and cauliflower, as well as celery and mixed leaf lettuce from Oxnard.

The warehouse features temperature monitoring and updated food safety and security measures such as digital monitoring cameras.

The facility, which opened after Thanksgiving, will operate from November through April. Cross-docking services also will be provided through Dandy Cooling at the Yuma and Salinas locations, Nunziati said.