Paramount Citrus has just celebrated the grand opening of its new citrus packinghouse, which will be home to the company's sweet, seedless, E-Z peel Cuties California Mandarins. The facility measures more than 640,000 square feet--the equivalent of 11 football fields.
"This new Cuties plant gives us a lot to be proud of, but it's not about being the biggest, it's about striving to be the best in the industry," said Stewart Resnick, chairman and owner of Roll Global, parent company to Paramount Citrus. "Whether it's through our commitments to quality, innovation, operational excellence, or the use of sustainable energy, we aim to be in an industry-leading position, both for Paramount Citrus and the Cuties brand."
The plant was designed to keep up with rising demand for the product. Last season, Paramount Citrus and its partners packed and shipped 60 million boxes of Cuties. That number is expected to reach 90 million this year; and in less than five years, shipments are expected to reach 140 million boxes.
"We've planted a lot of Cuties trees over the past several years, and the consumption and demand have consistently increased," said Paramount Citrus President David Krause. "We need this facility to handle all the new volume coming on-line."
Half of the power used at the Cuties plant will come from "green energy" generation. The Cuties plant's roof is home to a 2.7-megawatt solar plant that will generate 15 percent of the power for the Cuties plant, making it one of the largest customer-owned rooftop solar plants in the U.S. Additionally, a 1.6-megawatt fuel cell, which produces electricity from natural gas with no combustion, will supply a further 35 percent of the power required to run the plant.
The new plant is expected to have a significantly positive impact on the local economy, bringing with it somewhere in the region of 500 new jobs.
The plant will be operational six months out of the year (November through April), coinciding with the annual Cuties harvest. During peak season, it will run up to 20 hours a day, six days a week. The plant will have the capacity to process 4,000 bins of fruit daily; to fill 800,000 3-pound bags each day; and to accommodate 31 million pounds of Cuties in its cold storage rooms.