King Fresh Announces Use of New Machinery at Katicich Ranch, Keith Wilson Shares on New Equipment
- by Lillie Apostolos
DINUBA, CA - King Fresh Produce is happily welcoming upgraded machinery to its grower’s, Katicich Ranch's, packinghouse, where the third-generation cherry farmers will utilize photo optic sorting equipment to stay up-to-date with what buyers are wanting most—the freshest produce. To increase volume for the 2019 season, the packinghouse is introducing updated machinery that has been designed especially by Red Pearl Systems and SMI.
Partnering up to grow Katicich’s Bing cherry variety, Keith Wilson, President for King Fresh, shares on what these upgrades entail and how it will benefit the company’s overall production.
“The Katicich family has been investing in upgrades to their packinghouse and cold storage on a yearly basis over the past 30 years. With proven photo optic sorting equipment on the market and buyers demanding fruit ran on photo optic equipment, a major remodel was in order to stay at the top of the game in the marketplace,” Keith explains. “Red Pearl Systems from Union Gap, Washington, and electrical and automation company SMI, from Stockton, California, came together to create a packing line that fits the needs of the existing on-site building.”
This is the second year that Katicich Ranch and King Fresh have teamed up for cherry season, with the latter helping the former with field harvest supervision and marketing of its Bing cherries. Family friends for many years, the two companies are excited for the machinery, as it promises growth in volume to optimize the close proximity of the facilities.
“This upgrade will increase the efficiency of our pack line by over 50 percent when compared with the previous equipment,” Keith tells me. “Our cherry quality and sizing is excellent this year due to a mild spring and a lighter-than-normal crop. We also have the advantage that all of our acreage is grown within four miles of our packinghouse. We can harvest, precool, and pack cherries within two hours of when the fruit left the orchard. You can’t get any fresher than that.”
More fresh and crisp cherries fresh off the tree? That sounds like the perfectly refreshing remedy for the weight of summertime heat.