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Morada Produce Co. achieves third-party sustainability certification

With the backing and dedication of the entire management team, Morada Produce Co. LP set its sights on becoming a third party-certified sustainable company and it achieved that goal prior to this year’s cherry season.

Director of Marketing Mike Jameson of the Linden, CA-based firm said there are a lot of different factors that go into sustainability certification. The company has been working on the program for several years. Among some of the sustainability efforts it has employed are the installation of a solar energy system and the development of a recycling system for the water used in the packing shed. The water utilized to move the cherries through the packing operation is filtered and reused as irrigation water for the company’s walnut crop.

moradaguysHenry (Skip) Foppiano, the owner of Morada Produce, and his son, Henry.“It was very much a team effort and we are very proud of the fact that we accomplished this certification,” said Jameson. “We want to leave the environment in better shape than we found it and we believe this certification recognizes that fact.”

He said the company is publicizing its achievement through word of mouth and social media, and has plans to incorporate the certification in its marketing efforts and even on its packaging. “It is a big deal to retailers,” Jameson said. “They are very interested that we have achieved this.”

Morada is also proud of its 40-lane electronic sorting system. Much of the industry has gone this route but Jameson said his firm has taken it one step further by constantly monitoring sorting samples in the quality control department. He said on a continual basis, Morada’s electronic equipment sends a 24-pound sample of fruit to the quality control department where a breakdown of each lot by size, color, sugar, Brix and other factors can be determined. “This is a great tool for us and allows us to make sure we are delivering the right product to the right customer and the right market.”

Each customer has different specifications and this tool helps Morada customize what its delivers to a very high level of sophistication. He said the QC department is evaluating a new batch of fruit every eight minutes to determine exactly what is being packed at virtually any point during the day.

As far as its packs are concerned, Morada has tweaked its pouch pack to make it just a bit better. Jameson said the pouch pack has become the industry standard as it does a great job of displaying the fruit and giving the consumer great take-home value. Early in the season, when prices are typically higher, Morada offers a packs that holds 1.33 pounds of fruit. As the season progresses, volume increases and the price comes down, the pouch pack utilized carries two pounds of fruit. “We change the size to give the consumer a great price point,” he said.