Booth Ranches LLC, an expanding Orange Cove, Calif.-based grower-shipper, has an additional packing facility this season — the former Sunny Cove Citrus LLC packinghouse in Orange Cove.
Sunny Cove’s four grower-owners decided to sell the facility because continuing retail consolidation made running the medium-sized operation a challenge, said Brian Bertelsen, one of the owners and chairman of the board.
Sunny Cove ceased operations, and its owners and other growers are moving their fruit to other marketers and packers. Bertelsen said in mid-September that some product could end up with Sunkist.
Booth Ranches did not retain the company’s sales staff — Keith Wilson, Roman Sowala, Selina Brown and Ron Wynn or general manager Tom Clark — however, some members of the packinghouse crew remain with the new owners, said Neil Galone, Booth Ranches’ vice president of sales and marketing.
Booth Ranches will continue to operate its existing Orange Cove packing facility but no longer will use its Porterville, Calif., facility, where it packed during peak citrus months.
The Sunny Cove facility, which occupies 170,000 square feet and is built on 11 acres, should allow the company to put up a more consistent pack, Galone said.
Booth Ranches expects to ship just under 2 million cartons of navels this year and about 700,000 cartons of valencias.
Sunny Cove typically packed 1.5 million to 2 million cartons of navels, valencias, minneolas and lemons, Bertelsen said.
Sunny Cove shipped some product under the Green Giant Fresh label owned by Growers Express LLC of Salinas, Calif., but Galone said he had no immediate plans to continue that program at Booth Ranches.