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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on February 20th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 50 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 13, Issue 50

New produce plant is all about economies of scale


Although it may sound like two companies combining their powers to become one entity, the 75,000-square-foot Fresh Venture Foods is just a packing plant, designed to bring the Santa Maria-based Gold Coast Packing and Babé Farms together in a partnership of economy and efficiency.

Gold Coast is already settled into the new facility, as it moved in December 2012. Babé Farms is in the process of moving from its 8,000-square-foot shop and plans to be operating in the new facility on Feb. 24. The goal is to streamline the aspects of the two businesses that complement each other.

Babé Farms manager Jeff Lundberg said the businesses were both at capacity in their facilities, but needed to combine volumes to make moving into a larger building work.

“It’s just a good fit,” Lundberg said. “Its main goal will be to be as efficient and [have] as high an output as possible.”

Lundberg said the move is the result of a longtime partnership between the two companies. The marriage, a cooperative effort to build a large facility to house both businesses, began in October 2011. Fresh Venture Foods is the child, a new entity covering the packing and shipping end of both businesses.

A five-bay loading dock gets the produce out the door, while the rest of the building is equipped for receiving, cooling, cleaning, sorting, and packaging the produce for each company under its respective label. Plans for future expansion could bring the facility to 105,000 square feet and double the number of bays.

In a press release, CEO of Gold Coast Packing Ron Burk said the businesses will maintain their own individual identities and sales and marketing personnel.

Babé Farms grows more than 70 different types of root vegetables and specialty greens, catering to food service customers and retail stores. Gold Coast Packing has a product line of broccoli, cauliflower, cilantro, spinach, and parsley—all washed and ready-to-use—that are marketed to the food service industry. Gold Coast is the sole provider of Taco Bell’s cilantro.

They anticipate that the joint venture will increase production by 50 percent, and improve the time it takes to get produce from the field to a customer’s door.

“Both of our companies were working at capacity, in outdated facilities, on multiple sites,” Lundberg said in the release. “This kind of efficiency is ideal for those of us promoting the benefits of fresh produce.”

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