(May 30, 2:26 p.m.) The owners of San Luis, Ariz.-based San Luis Cooling LLC are branching out into fresh-cut fruit.

Lydia’s Specialty Fruit Inc. is expected to start running by early summer, said Barry Webster, director of marketing for Yuma, Ariz.-based Desert Best Distributing LLC, which is handling sales and marketing.

Webster said owner/operators Henry and Lydia Chavez saw a need for locally processed fresh-cut fruit. The facility is designed to service southwest Arizona and southeastern California.

The newly built 24,000-square-foot facility is equipped to peel, core, cut and slice fruit like pineapples, mangos, watermelon, papaya, melons, grapes, apples and other snack fruit.

“During the first year we expect to ship about 10 million pounds, and then we can expand as the business grows,” Webster said.

The facility is adjacent to Spindle Cooling LLC.

Webster said the company plans to sell to retail stores, distributors and commercial facilities under the Lydia’s Specialty Fruit label and under private labels as requested.

The location for Lydia’s is ideal, he said, because of the volume of Mexican-grown fruit that passes through the San Luis border crossing, ensuring the local market has access to the freshest fruit possible.