River Point Farms ready to open state-of-the-art packing facility
This August, River Point Farms will open its new onion packing facility. “We are very excited about this new facility which includes about 80,000 new square feet, and 100 percent new packaging automated equipment including hi-tech optics,” President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Hale told The Produce News. “This will be one of the most modern fully automated onion packaging plants in the country.”
The company is headquartered in Hermiston, OR, and is one of the nation’s premier onion grower-packer-shipper-processors. River Point Farms offers competitive pricing on year-round programs for red, yellow, white and sweet onions. “We offer all types of whole, peeled and diced and sliced onions to various foodservice, industrial ingredient, restaurant chain and retail customers,” said Customer Service Representative Mackenzie Mills.
Delbert Gehrke, vice president of farm, provided some insights about the 2015 production season. “We have had one of the warmest springs on record, including a very hot June,” he said. “The onion crop has performed well this spring. Onion stands and overall plant growth are well ahead of schedule. Our onion crop is at least 10 days ahead of normal. This is apparent in the bulb size being larger at this time of the year than previous years. The unknown at this time is the potential impact to overall Pacific Northwest onion farmgate yields resulting from the high June temperatures.”
Gehrke said River Point’s volume in 2015 will be similar to last season’s. “At this point in time, the crop looks healthy, and we do not see any unusual quality issues resulting from the warmer weather this season,” he added.
Field activity is ready to ramp up. “We are on the brink of harvesting our Hermiston Sweets onion varieties for this upcoming season,” said Stefan Matheny, director of sales and procurement. “We are excited to get these onions out of the fields and start shipping to our long-term customers at the end of this month. We will also have our Hermiston SweetRed available to retailers beginning in October. All of these onions can be packaged in two-, three-, five- and 10-pound consumer packaging or 40-pound cartons.”
Some changes are being planned for labels and packaging. “We will launching some retro labels this season, shipping our Hermiston Sweets and Hermiston SweetReds onions in packaging styles that date back to their roots and beginnings of the two sweet onion programs,” Matheny commented. “We are currently non-GMO project-verified and SCS Global-certified pesticide residue-free. Both logos will be added to our 25-pound and 50-pound mesh bags.”
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