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MADE IN KERN COUNTY: Halos

Posted at 5:03 PM, Feb 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-26 15:47:31-05

They are all of the craze right now in the citrus industry.

You’ve probably packed them in your child's lunch box, or snacked on them at work.

But did you know, Wonderful Halos are made right here in Kern County?

23ABC's Tim Calahan got a behind the scenes look at how those little halos get in your hand.

 

Watch Live: Behind the production of Wonderful Halos for Made In Kern County with Tim Calahan 23ABC

Posted by 23ABC Bakersfield on Friday, February 12, 2016

To get those halos, you would have to see the more than 600,000 square-foot packing facility in Delano.

They must go through a long, complex and skillfully executed process that is as unique as the product itself. 

Tim met up with David Krause, President of Wonderful Citrus. 

Halo is part of the larger Wonderful Company and it is responsible for pistachios, almonds, Fiji Water and more.

Krause said that Halo's success sort of surprised them. 

“When we first started in 2000, we knew it was going to be successful. I guess in fairness we didn’t know it was going to be this successful," he added.

 

 

Watch live: Making of #MadeInKernCounty at Wonderful Halos with Tim Calahan 23ABC

Posted by 23ABC Bakersfield on Friday, February 12, 2016

The start of a journey for these small mandarins starts when thousands of small orange halos are loaded off from the fields and into the large bins.

Each orange passes through conveyor belts, they are scrubbed and cleaned of any debris from the trees.

From there, more than seven rows of employees begin the quality control process. 

They look for any damaged fruit and to see if any mandarins can actually make the cut. 

More than 1,200 employees work at the Delano facility on any given day. 

Inside what company officials describe as the brains of the operation is where the state of the art technology gouges the health of the machines, and just how many mandarins are passing through the factory lines at once. 

Krause, who joined the company 16 years ago, says it's amazing to see what the operation has grown into today.

“We’ll sell two billion servings of halos this season," Krause said.

Krause added that the majority of those are being grown in Kern County.

More than 4 million five-pound bags of halos will pass through these factory lines every week.

The growing season is broken up into times of the year. 

Clementines are available from November to January.

Murcott mandarins, a cross between a tangerine and a sweet orange are available from February to April.

Halo has a massive 14,000 acre growing and nursery operation, that Krause says will only get larger. 

“We still have young trees that we're planting now, that will take us three to four years before they produce so obviously we have a grown pattern we will continue to see," he said.

So, what does Halo see for the future?

“Well, clearly as a company, we are here to stay. This is our base," Krause said.

Krause added that their headquarters has a footprint that will be lasting long past him and others. 

"As for the products, I think they’re going to continue to grow in terms of consumer recognition not only in the U.S., but in global markets as well," he said.

"Halos is already a number one brand in the U.S. market, and we believe that’s going to continue to grow and bring recognition back to the local community.”