AC Foods Legacy Packing House Open House

Mon. September 18th, 2017 - by Jordan Okumura

DINUBA, CA - In the heart of the San Joaquin Valley lies the sleeping giant, AC Foods, a regenerative food family of farms, nurseries, packing houses, and marketing and sales companies with the shared purpose of growing access to better, tastier, and healthier food.

As the company positions for future growth, the brand opened its doors on September 15th as the operation prepared to flip the switch on its AC Foods Legacy citrus line automation project.

Darren Filkins, President, AC Foods“We are very excited and also very fortunate to be working in agriculture, specifically bringing vibrance and value to not only our customers and communities, but to our families as well,” President Darren Filkins shared with guests at Friday’s Open House in Dinuba, California. “We are committed to providing a best-in-class performance for all parties that work with us, and we appreciate your support in that. Our complement of branded citrus products–Suntreat and Sumo Citrus–as well as our farms and Tree Source Nursery, have offered an opportunity to provide a premier position in the agricultural industry. We continue to reinvest, not only in our people, but we also continue to build our brands and will continue to grow and expand within the ag sector as well.”

President Darren Filkins addresses guests at Friday's open house in Dinuba, California

As we toured the operation, which is slated to go online this season, I couldn’t help but be impressed by both my surroundings and the passion of the group that turned out for the day’s event. You could tell from the buzz of the conversations that the room was alive with excitement for what has already been accomplished, and what is still yet to come.

This new state-of-the-art sorting and packaging technology will make AC Foods Legacy a premier packing and shipping facility in the fresh produce industry, and that was evident that day. Between the stainless steel construction, automated DIR line, fumigation chambers, degreening rooms, and optical sizers that take 80 pictures of each piece of fruit as they pass under the equipment–the facility is a picture of precision and synchronization.

AC Foods Legacy Packing House

Add in three control rooms with HMI screens to provide a complete line of sight into each aspect of the operation, 100% traceability for every bin received, and a vision to have every piece of citrus assigned a home by the time in reaches packaging, AC Foods line automation project could not have come at a more ideal time.

If I thought the technology was impressive, I was overwhelmed with excitement at the presence of Sumo Byamba, the Mongolian-born 6'1", 360 lbs, four-time World Sumo Champion with five years of Pro Sumo experience. Byamba is partnering with AC Foods to both promote the brand, spread the Sumo Citrus love, and bring value and differentiation to the company within the incredibly competitive citrus category.

The afternoon wrapped up with a delicious BBQ lunch where my co-worker Brian La Force and I had the chance to step into the ring with Byamba...for a photo-op, of course. As you can see–we just couldn’t help ourselves.

ANUK's Brian LaForce and Jordan Okumura strike a pose with Byamba

Thank you to the AC Foods team for the wonderful experience and good luck on the exciting road ahead!

Agriculture Capital Suntreat