GONZALES, Calif. — Just a few months after breaking ground earlier this year, Salinas, Calif.-based Pacific International Marketing’s new processing plant opened for business.


By early July, the 22,000 square-foot plant and its 50 employees were working six days a week, said John Mahon, plant manager. The official opening was May 24.


All of the plant, located in Gonzales about 15 miles south of Salinas, is refrigerated and designed to be broken down for the annual fall transition to Yuma, Ariz., Mahon said.


“The plant was certified as an organic handler and processor the day it opened,” he said.


To reinforce that standing, Pacific International Marketing has taken extra steps to ensure food safety. Among them is a security system that prevents anyone without a security card from entering the building and even from gaining access through the fence that surrounds the facility.


The plant packs organic products for Pure Pacific Organic, a subsidiary of Pacific International Marketing.


The processing line is focusing on spring mix and baby spinach, both conventionally grown and organic, said Dave Johnson, vice president.


“That we were able to have the plant in operation just four months after beginning construction — in spite of the rain — is amazing,” he said.


The Gonzales plant is one of two major projects the company has undertaken this year.


“Our new cooling facility in Santa Maria is on target for a Nov. 1 launch,” Johnson said. “It’s the first of three already permitted construction phases.”


The second phase is scheduled to be constructed within two years with the third phase to follow, he said. When completed, the Santa Maria facility will provide 150,000 square feet of cooling, Johnson said.