Del Rey Avocado utilizing new packing technology to achieve sustainability benchmarks
Del Rey Avocado, a family owned, market leader in growing, packing, importing and distributing quality avocados has demonstrated leadership and a clear commitment to sustainable growth over the years, recently completed a major overhaul of their Fallbrook packing house facility.
This major project, delayed because of the global pandemic, began its planning in 2020 and was completed in February of this year; has proven to have been a highly successful investment for Del Rey’s future growth and pioneering commitment to transitioning to a fully sustainable business model.
With increased volume of imported product over the last several years and the company’s continued growth in California acreage, much of which is organic, the leadership team decided it was a perfect time to completely reconfigure their Fallbrook packing house and equip it with state-of-the-art equipment. The Fallbrook facility, which is essentially located in what is referred as downtown Fallbrook, has a footprint which is land locked. The leadership team, led by Jessica Hunter, CEO, Patrick Lucy, president and Donny Lucy, vice president, decided it made perfect sense and was part of their sustainable growth plans to engage in a multi-million-dollar upgrade.
Faced with increasing pressure to create efficiencies in this facility to handle their production growth the team contracted with leading manufacturers to create a plan that would handle significant increased throughput, and take pressure off the industries increasing labor challenges.
The upgrades include a streamlined receiving process, the latest in sorting, sizing and safety technology, as well as an ergonomic pack-out line, making for a safer and more comfortable environment for their employees. “Efficiencies were an important consideration for us in making this investment, but even more important was creating an environment our people could enjoy and thrive in. Our families have always been committed to providing the best possible tools and technologies so our employees feel safe and productive,” said Hunter.
The company’s ability to handle larger volume of fruit in Fallbrook was critically important as the Vista facility which came on-line over three years ago was reaching capacity. The Vista facility is equally equipped with the latest avocado packing equipment, and is also outfitted with an impressive solar panel system which produces nearly 80% of the company’s electricity needs. “We are proud of the investments we and our fathers before us made in sustainable energy. It is part of our commitment to being outstanding stewards of God given resources and setting new standards for our industry that are aligned with consumer expectations as well as meeting the goals of our retail partners,” said Patrick Lucy.
Del Rey Avocado’s commitment to environmental stewardship began many years ago, and has included water conservation technology, strict land management practices, as well as the installation of large-scale solar projects on a number of their Southern California Avocado ranches. “Stewardship is something that we all grew up understanding, thanks to our parents. Our commitment to being good stewards extends not only to our commitment to the environment, but our commitment to our people and the communities we operate in around the globe,” said Donny Lucy.