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Golden West’s 2017 facility sees new expansion in 2018

Last year’s onion season saw Golden West Produce packing and shipping from its brand new facility in the Parma, ID, and this year the company has expanded that operation to include double automated bagging and an increased buffer hopper capacity, along with additional upgrades and enlargements.

Golden West, previously located in Nyssa, OR, was among the harder hit Treasure Valley onion operations during winter 2017’s destructive snow and ice storms. The company moved to the Idaho side of the Snake River, broke ground and was packing from a new operation within months.

Prosource1 New crop onions from Idaho-Eastern Oregon’s Treasure Valley are being run through Golden West’s Parma facility, which was built in 2017 and expanded this year. Marketed through ProSource, the Golden West onions are coming in “on par with what we expected,” ProSource President Corey Griswold said in late August.

He said, “Our onion crop is on schedule with sizing and projected yields looking to be on par with our historical average. We have enjoyed long, hot days with exceptional heat units, and expect quality to be top notch for the storage crop.”

Noting that the Golden West/ProSource goal is “to get maximum efficiency,” Griswold explained the facility upgrades that have taken place for this new season.

Among the 2018 changes are the increased buffer hopper capacity from 12 bunkers to 16. Each bunker holds approximately 13 tons of graded and sized product to be sent to a variety of packaging machines. The overall automated bagging capacity has been doubled to four Eqraft machines, all supplied by Volm.

Carton capacity has been increased by 50 percent, going from two to three automatic lines. Also a Tolsma-Grisnich binning and bin dumping line has been added as well as a temporary ventilated storage bay “to more efficiently pack product to order and on demand.”

The Volm consumer packing line has been expanded to double capacity, with an integrated automated master baler. And the operation installed a wicketed 10-pound machine for additional speed, fully integrated the machine into the consumer line.

A fifth Volm weigher has been installed to handle large product more efficiently, and it is paired with the onion stickering and carton/RPC/auto bagger line. Also, there is 50 percent more automated stacking/palletizing with a third Symach palletizer that accommodates the new Volm weigher and consumer line.

An additional 40,000 square feet of refrigerated cold storage space has been built on site with capacity for more 17.5 million pounds of onions for late season packing.

And there is a site and facility beautification project underway at the facility as well. Griswold said ProSource/Golden West has also hired Antonio Carone as director of food safety and facilities manager at the beginning of the year.