Contact:
Claire H.Smith

San Antonio Orchard Co. LLC Affiliates with Sunkist for Citrus Sales


September 27, 2005

September 27, 2005, Sherman Oaks, Calif….San Antonio Orchard Company LLC, after an absence of four years, will re-join Sunkist Growers for sales of its citrus packed in Porterville at the start of the 2005-06 season. The announcement was made jointly by Sunkist and San Antonio’s owners, the W.H. Latimer Trust, following unanimous approval by the Sunkist board of directors at its September meeting.

“We’re very pleased that this company, which produces and packs high quality fresh citrus, has decided to return to the Sunkist system after being with DNE for a brief period. The new volume will help us continue to meet the demands for a quality product our customers have come to expect,” said Sunkist President and CEO Jeff Gargiulo. “Additionally, San Antonio’s affiliation brings a new group of growers into membership of the Central California Citrus Growers Assn, a voluntary information-based group that advocates intelligent sales for improved grower returns.”

The Latimer family is an old and respected member of the California citrus industry, beginning in 1912 when Charles Latimer bought navel orange groves in Riverside. His son, Wilbur Hugh Latimer, carried on the family tradition in southern California until his death in 1997. The trust he created in his name sold operations in Riverside and shifted its vertically integrated citrus production and packing operations to the Central San Joaquin Valley in 2001.

“We, too, are proud to be a part of Sunkist and we’ve assembled a great and experienced team for a successful future,” said Karen L. Rodman, a Latimer Trustee.

Randy Ishida, who has extensive experience in growing, packing and selling citrus, is San Antonio’s General Manager. His support staff includes Sandra Cake, Office Manager; Conley Meling, Field Manager; and Scott Bauer, Sales Coordinator.

“I’m also very pleased to announce that Tony Wollenman, a mainstay at LoBue Bros. citrus packers in Lindsay, will join our team Oct. 1 as Operations Manager,” said Ishida. “We are excited at the prospects of being back within the Sunkist system and we look forward to the start of the navel season in the near future.”

San Antonio Orchard Co. LLC is considered a mid-size citrus operation. Ishida estimates that it produces in the neighborhood of 900,000 boxes of fresh oranges, with an 85% to 15% breakdown of navels to Valencias. The new Sunkist house will be affiliated with the Tulare County Fruit Exchange at Porterville.

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