SAN ANTONIO — After two years of careful plans and prayer, Murphy Tomatoes is settling in at its new facility on the north side of town.
The company, which had been on the San Antonio Terminal Market since its inception in 1948, needed a fresh start, said Bill Kellner, chief operating officer.
The constant upkeep on the older facility made food safety audits a challenge.
“We knew this would be a big investment (to build a new facility),” he said. “But we were doing a lot of costly repairs for inspections already.”
The new 32,400-square-foot facility allows for multiple lines to run, if necessary, and plenty of room for expansion.
“We have enough acreage to do whatever we want to do here,” he said.
The company moved into its facility in August and is finishing up the last details.
The interior boasts the latest in food safety equipment and procedures. Storage rooms are equipped with AiroCide PPT systems and tomatoes get not only a chlorine bath but also are sanitized with ozone.
Tomatoes are ripened to specification using on-site multi-tiered forced air ripening rooms.
Murphy Tomatoes prides itself on ownership of product from the field through the end customer. It grows tomatoes in Florida, California, Texas and Arkansas.
Kellner said the vast majority of tomatoes it handles — rounds, romas, cherries and grapes, mostly — are company-grown.
The company has more than 3,000 acres of growing operations. Its motto is “Do know where your tomatoes come from? We do.”
“We have control of the product from when it goes in the ground until it gets to the customer,” Kellner said.
Kellner has been with the company for the better part of the past 10 years, not counting a brief hiatus in Dallas.
He and president and chief executive officer Joe Murphy not only work together but are members of the same church in San Antonio.
Faith and family are a strong part of the business, Kellner said. Joe Murphy is the third generation and his sons are the fourth to join the business, which also has offices in Dallas and Houston.