(Sept. 27) A southern California fixture of Sunkist Growers Inc., Sherman Oaks, Calif., the company’s lemon juice and oil facility, is moving from the San Gabriel Valley to the San Joaquin Valley. For decades, Sunkist has operated the juice and oil plant in Ontario, Calif. The facility is relocating to Tipton, Calif., a small community south of Visalia, Calif.

The move does not signal plans to relocate Sunkist Growers’ headquarters — at least not yet.

In July, Tim Lindgren, president and chief executive officer of Sunkist Growers, told The Packer the company was evaluating what to do with its sprawling headquarters building.

“We’re looking at all possibilities,” Lindgren said. “We have to talk with our employees but there’s the possibility of selling and relocating in the area, maybe leasing from the new owner, or selling part of the building or even the possibility of selling everything.”

At the time, Lindgren said among the options was moving the headquarters to Bakersfield, Calif., or Visalia, a decision that is unrelated to the relocation of the juice and oil functions.

“One has nothing to do with the other,” said Claire Smith, the company’s director of corporate communications.

The evaluation of what to do, if anything, with the headquarters building in Sherman Oaks is continuing, she said.

“The timing of the move is tied to the January freeze,” Smith said.

As a result of the freeze, she said the 2007-08 California lemon deal will be down substantially and nearly all of the crop will be fresh pick. That the San Joaquin Valley has usurped southern California as the state’s dominant citrus-growing region was another factor in the move.