Mexican grower Mevi Avocados and its North American distributor The Oppenheimer Group have announced the opening of a new packhouse, which will “significantly” boost capacity when a second packing line is added in few months.
The facility, which at present can pack 35 containers per week, is strategically located in the state of Jalisco, which is now the second-largest source of avocados in Mexico after Michoacán.
Although Michoacán is the only Mexican state currently cleared to export the fruit to the US, Mevi and Oppy said they anticipate the market to open to avocados grown in Jalisco in the near future.
Opened on 13 July, the new packhouse also gives Mevi’s avocados direct access to Asian markets via the nearby port city of Manzanillo.
Mevi produces avocados in both Jalisco and Michoacán, with its year-round harvest from Michoacán marketed exclusively in the US by Oppy.
“The Medina family, which owns and operates Mevi, has a long-standing reputation for avocados of impeccable quality and unparalleled flavor,” noted James Milne, Oppy’s avocado category director, in a press release.
“The new facility represents a significant investment in putting fruit condition and quality at the forefront. We look forward to the opportunity to sell the fruit packed there, and we applaud the Medinas’ proactive approach.”
Oppy’s avocado category managers Mike Kostick and Jeff Walker, along with category analyst Rodrigo López, joined local dignitaries, including the mayor of Ciudad Guzman, at the opening ceremony earlier this month.
Innovations in the packhouse, which will eventually employ around 300 people, include a state-of-the-art packing line, offices for quality assurance staff and ultimately USDA personnel, as well as a coldstorage chamber.
New technology has been introduced outside the packhouse as well, according to Milne, including a new and automated irrigation system on 1,700 acres of avocado production.
Inside and out, Oppy said the growing and packing process is managed by specialised staff members to assure optimum efficiency.