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Ten years after establishing a West Coast fresh-cut operation in Oxnard, Calif., Duda Farm Fresh Foods has expanded with the opening of an expanded state-of-the-art fresh-cut celery facility last week.
Built in partnership with Western Precooling Systems, Inc., the new plant will double the production capacity for Duda Farm Fresh Foods' fresh-cut celery operation in California and provide new opportunities for additional lines of products and customers.
Located at 860 Pacific Ave. in Oxnard, the new facility also consolidates all of Duda Farm Fresh Foods' Southern California operations under one roof.
In addition to housing a new Dandy-brand cooling facility in Oxnard for the storage and shipment of a variety of Duda Farm Fresh Foods' products, the 65,746-square-foot building features 39,593 square feet of processing space and 22,604 square feet for cooling.
Employing 85 people year-round and approximately 115 at peak season, the processing facility houses two celery stick lines: one dice line and one heavy industrial (semi-processed), with space for a future "value-added" line. Total volume during peak season is approximately 1.5 million pounds per week.
Using a proprietary water jet cutter to cut its fresh-cut celery sticks, Duda Farm Fresh Foods is the only producer to use this state-of-the-art celery-cutting system, which sends celery under a stream of high pressure water that produces fresh-cut celery sticks with a smoother appearance than mechanical cutters. The process also decreases pitting and strings, and extends shelf life.
Celery is a primary product for Duda Farm Fresh Foods, one of the largest celery growers in the world. The company's celery breeding program has been developing varieties with better taste, color, size.
With primary locations in Florida, Texas, California, Arizona, Georgia and Michigan, Duda Farm Fresh Foods is a wholly owned subsidiary of the family-owned, Oviedo, Fla.-based Duda.