(Dec. 11, 9:45 a.m.) Sultana, Calif.-based George Bros. Inc., a prominent grower-packer-shipper in the San Joaquin Valley for more than six decades, is closing its doors.

Members of the founding George family were scheduled to meet Dec. 10 with a real estate broker to discuss putting the company’s packinghouse up for sale, said Chris George, a third-generation member of the family.

The news came one day after David Krause, president of Paramount Citrus Association, Delano, said the citrus giant had purchased 1,000 acres of George family farmland.

“It was an unsolicited offer,” Chris George said. “It was such a good offer we just had to take a look at it knowing what’s happening with the produce business as far as tree fruit is concerned.”

The farmland sold to Paramount Citrus was the last of the family’s producing acreage, he said.

George Bros. has been one of the four central California grower-shippers belonging to FreshSense, the Parlier-based stone fruit marketing group. The other members are Ballantine Produce Co. Inc., Sanger; Fowler Packing Co. Inc., Fowler; and, Sunwest Fruit Co. Inc., Parlier.

The first of the George family to emigrate from the Azores to the U.S. began farming in California in the early 1900s, Chris George said. George Bros. was incorporated in 1947, he said.

Whether Mickey George, who over the years has played important roles on various committees of the California Tree Fruit Agreement, will retire is uncertain.

“I just haven’t asked him about it,” Chris George said.

Mike George, a cousin and another member of the third generation, has accepted a position with Mulholland Citrus, Orange Cove.

Chris George has not yet determined his future.

“I’m going to take some time to analyze what I’m going to do,” he said.

It’s the same situation for his brother, Steve George. Chris George said he hopes Steve remains in the produce packing industry.

“He’s forgotten more about packing fruit than most people know,” Chris George said. “He’s been in the business since he was fresh out of college.”