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SANGER, Calif. -- Ballantine Produce Co. here was named the recipient of the 2005 Baker, Peterson & Franklin Ag Business Award, which honors a for-profit service or product-related agribusiness or farming entity headquartered in the Central San Joaquin Valley.
Established in 1943 as a partnership between a grower, a marketer and a wholesaler, Ballantine Produce was formed to meet the overwhelming demand for fresh produce at the end of World War II. An original owner also owned a beverage distributorship that delivered for Ballantine Ale Co., and the Ballantine name was chosen to capitalize on the popularity of the beer. In 1951, the Albertson family purchased the business and a partnership was created with Virgil Rasmussen and Ed Schoenburg to operate and manage the business.
With the motto "Service First," Ballantine has grown into one of the largest and most respected producers and shippers distributing over 10 million packages of 200 varieties of fruit worldwide. Ballantine farms over 5,000 acres of tree fruit and grapes, including 125 contracted growers. It maintains over 400,000-sq.-ft. of production facilities in California, and employs 100 full time people and 2,000 seasonal workers. The company has redeveloped the majority of its domestic acreage with innovative and great eating fruit varieties and post harvest quality management solutions.
Ballantine, an active member of the Ripe'n Ready coalition -- the leading provider of an improved taste strategy for stone fruit -- holds leadership positions with the key industry associations such as California Grape and Tree Fruit League, California Table Grape Commission and the California Tree Fruit Agreement.