The rapid increase in Florida’s blueberry acreage, especially in the Central Florida corridor, there existed a need for centralized packing and distribution. In 2011, Wild Goose Farms made a strategic decision to enter this industry segment and vertically integrate its operations to include the packing and distribution of fruit. Since that time, the business has grown to pack both fruit grown by Spring Valley as well as other local growers. Our volume of packed fruit has increased significantly over the years to represent nearly ten percent of the Florida blueberry crop.
Packing begins in early March as blueberry season flips from the southern hemisphere in Chile to the northern hemisphere in Florida. Output peaks in mid-April and typically wraps up the week before Memorial Day just as Georgia production hits full capacity.
Fruit arriving at the packing facility receives an initial inspection, evaluating for overall quality and condition. The fruit is then cooled to 55˚F to help preserve freshness. From there it is sent straight to the automated color and soft sorting machines where under/over ripe and otherwise damaged berries are removed. Following this process, a trained team hand selects any defects missed by the sorting equipment. Conveyor belts move the fruit from the grading equipment into an automated filling machine to pack the blueberries into clamshells and are filled with a tolerance of +/- 5 grams. A quality control inspection evaluating every pallet of fruit is performed and all passing fruit is immediately shipped out to distribution centers. Our blueberries frequently find their way into consumers’ hands within 48 hours from the time they leave our facility.
To maintain uniformity and confidence in the fruit, we only pack for growers who maintain the same Primus Global Food Safety (GFS) A rating we maintain ourselves.
Spring Valley Packing’s food safety team is trained and certified with the International HAACP program (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points). The HAACP program is a systematic preventive approach to safeguard food from biological, chemical, and physical hazards in production processes.
We maintain product traceability which exceeds the industry standard Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI). As part of the patented FreshQC™ – How’s My Picking?™ traceback system, every clamshell received an inkjet code which can be followed back to the grower and day it was packed.