Paramount Citrus Expands, Creating Hundreds Of Jobs
New Processing Facility Under Construction Doubling Production
7:50 AM, Jan 27, 2011
Paramount Citrus is the largest grower, shipper and packer of fresh citrus in the United States and now the company is expanding in Delano.In 2004, the company began shipping its best-selling Clementine mandarins under its California Cuties brand. Now, with such a high demand for the product, the company is investing millions of dollars on a new processing plant."The market for sweet, easy-to-peel fruit is growing tremendously, so the company in response to that has planted a lot of acreage and those crops are coming to maturity now so now we need additional capacity to get it to market," said Pete McKinzie, director of continuous improvement for the company.Through a series of investments that started in 2000, the company is now the largest Clementine grower in the United States. The new plant is under construction right now on Wollomes Avenue and Lexington Street in Delano and it is expected to process an additional 500 million pounds of citrus a year."It's a huge expansion. It'll double our size in Delano. It'll double our employment. It'll double the amount of fruit that we process. It's the biggest expansion that we have done locally in the past 10 to 15 years," said McKinzie.Delano city officials are excited about the project, which will add 500 jobs at the plant and dozens more during construction."The increase in jobs is a good thing. It's actually within our redevelopment area, so that helps the city. It just makes sense for us to approve a project like this," said Sam Ramirez with the Delano City Council.The facility will also have new amenities for employees."A lot of our employees are long-term employees. They've worked for the company for a long time so in the new facility, we will have a full-time medical clinic that both the employees and their families can have access to. We are also going to put a restaurant, a quality cafeteria where they will be able to get food that's very reasonably priced as well as very healthy," said McKinzie.Construction of the facility is expected for another 18 months.