Largest Berry Processing Facility In Southeast Opens

Naturipe Farms/MBG Marketing held a grand opening ceremony for its new fresh and value-added blueberry facility recently in Alma, GA.

There were over 250 in attendance between grower-members, business and community leaders, and local and state dignitaries including Peggy Murphy, Mayor of Alma, GA, and Georgia State House Representative Chad Nimmer, as well as MBG and Naturipe Staff. Naturipe Farms, formed in 2000, is a partnership between MBG Marketing, Hortifrut SA, Naturipe Berry Growers and Munger Farms. Headquartered in Salinas, CA, it has sales and customer service offices located throughout the U.S., including Grand Junction, MI; Estero, FL; Boston, MA; Wenatchee, WA; and Atlanta, GA.

Alma is home to the second Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) Value-Added processing and packing facility owned and operated by MBG. The first was opened in Bloomingdale, MI, in 2013, a facility that has provided benefits to all MBG members and customers by producing a high yield pack-out of superior quality blueberries for the Naturipe brand.

“The Alma Facility will enhance our ability to quickly process berries for our growers in Georgia and Florida and will serve as a back-up facility to our growers in our other regions,” said Larry Ensfield, COO of MBG Marketing. “This new facility is over 73,000 square feet, with a capacity of 18,000 pounds per hour, making it the largest blueberry IQF facility in the Southeast USA. We are using the latest technologies to sort, wash and then freeze the berries in a state-of-the-art IQF tunnel.

“Here, the berries are individually frozen to -10°F degrees in less than 6 minutes to preserve the flavor, nutrients, color and integrity of the blueberries. Additional inspections and sorting takes place before they are packed into bulk containers for food-service and ingredient buyers or poly bags for retail consumers packs.”

The facility also contains a large fresh blueberry distribution center, to service the Naturipe Farms customer base across North America. Current capacity is for more than 10 million pounds of fresh berries during the Southeast growing season, with room to expand to match the anticipated growth in production in the region.

In 2013 MBG celebrated its 30th anniversary in Georgia. Don Wade, a retired grower-member who was one of about a dozen growers in that initial co-op meeting in 1983, commented during the grand opening celebration that “we started with just a couple of acres and now there are over 22,000 acres of blueberries planted in the state.”

Murphy thanked MBG for expanding its Georgia operations, supporting the community and continuing to invest in the city of Alma and Bacon County. In addition, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal sent his best wishes for success in a letter read by state Rep. Nimmer. Paraphrasing the governor, he highlighted the positive economic impact to the region as a result of the blueberry industry and in particular when grower organizations, such as MBG, make a long term investment and commitment such as this new facility.

Source: Naturipe Farms

Topics: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Berries Stories
Blueberry necrotic ring blotch
Berries
October 29, 2016
Pest And Disease Diagnosis 101 In Berries
Using some of the experts and information available can help you avoid problems in the berry patch. Read More
A product shot of Wish Farms' elongated blackberry clamshell
Berries
October 10, 2016
Wish Farms Going Bigger, Bolder With Blackberries
Central Florida-based operation meeting consumer demand by extending its berry program. Read More
A bunch of 'Sweet Sensation' strawberries lined up for photo purposes
Berries
October 3, 2016
Florida Strawberry Growers Have A Sweet Sensation On Their Hands
Study shows the latest variety from UF/IFAS berry breeders is not only heads and shoulders above others in flavor, but also shelflife and color. Read More
giant-berry-promotion-red-state-blue-state
Berries
October 3, 2016
Forget Donald And Hillary – Vote Your Berry
California Giant trending on #BerriesforPresident; strawberries are leading blueberries. Read More
Mechanical strawberry transplanter, the first of its kind in California, developed from collaboration among Driscoll’s, Plantel, and Solex.  (Photo credit: Surendra Dara)
Berries
October 1, 2016
New Mechanical Strawberry Transplanter Wows
New tool, developed in California, helps to alleviate labor needs during summer planting season. Read More
Spring Valley Farms blueberries near Umatilla, FL
Berries
September 24, 2016
Time Is Now For Florida Blueberry Growers To Dig In
Coming off a challenging season, industry players must continue to adapt to curveballs thrown by Mother Nature and market forces. Read More
Photo courtesy of UF/IFAS
Berries
September 23, 2016
What U.S. Consumers Think About Florida Blueberries
For growers, the good news is that shoppers like what you are serving up. But more can be done to whet appetites. Read More
The Latest
Berries
November 28, 2016
Reserchers Develop Lower-Cost Options Fo…
Research team seeks alternatives to over-the-row harvest systems. Read More
Berries
November 16, 2016
Florida Blueberry Growers Warned To Watc…
Pathogen has been confirmed on three farms so far. Read More
Berries
November 1, 2016
Worker Awarded $700K Following Collapse …
Maine man awarded damages following heat stroke, says blueberry grower was negligent in training him for work. Read More
Berries
October 29, 2016
Pest And Disease Diagnosis 101 In Berrie…
Using some of the experts and information available can help you avoid problems in the berry patch. Read More
Berries
October 10, 2016
Wish Farms Going Bigger, Bolder With Bla…
Central Florida-based operation meeting consumer demand by extending its berry program. Read More
Berries
October 3, 2016
Florida Strawberry Growers Have A Sweet …
Study shows the latest variety from UF/IFAS berry breeders is not only heads and shoulders above others in flavor, but also shelflife and color. Read More
Berries
October 3, 2016
Forget Donald And Hillary – Vote Your Be…
California Giant trending on #BerriesforPresident; strawberries are leading blueberries. Read More
Berries
October 1, 2016
New Mechanical Strawberry Transplanter W…
New tool, developed in California, helps to alleviate labor needs during summer planting season. Read More
Berries
September 24, 2016
Time Is Now For Florida Blueberry Grower…
Coming off a challenging season, industry players must continue to adapt to curveballs thrown by Mother Nature and market forces. Read More
Berries
September 23, 2016
What U.S. Consumers Think About Florida …
For growers, the good news is that shoppers like what you are serving up. But more can be done to whet appetites. Read More
Berries
September 22, 2016
Investors Clamoring For Automated Strawb…
Naturipe joins growing list of backers in the labor-saving vision and mission of ag-tech startup. Read More
Berries
September 22, 2016
It Behooves Blueberry Growers To Protect…
Placing priority on bee care best practices will ensure sweet success for your crop. Read More
Berries
September 20, 2016
How To Track Irrigation: Keep Your Eye O…
Time-tested, color-appropriate method for following water movement in plasticulture veggie crops could prove fruitful in blueberries, too. Read More
Berries
September 17, 2016
Florida Blueberry Growers Keen On Two Ne…
Low-chill, machine-harvest capabilities define these southern highbush selections. Read More
Berries
September 13, 2016
New Peach-Sized Strawberry Big On Flavor
Latest variety from Cornell University geared for growers seeking success in local food sector. Read More
Berries
September 13, 2016
New Berry Releases Hit Marks For High Yi…
ARS varieties offer growers two new alternatives to industry standards. Read More
Berries
September 2, 2016
Strawberry Grower Fined For Demanding Ki…
Operator reportedly demanded rent, payments for transportation and expenses incurred bringing workers to U.S. Read More
Berries
September 1, 2016
Pick-Your-Own Pointers From Expert Blueb…
30-year veteran Bob McConnell shares tips on variety selection, production practices, and finding your market. Read More