A $4 million renovation and expansion of Lane Southern Orchards’ existing packing house in Fort Valley, Georgia is underway and planned to be complete for an early Summer peach harvest. The expansion will double the capacity of the current packing house from 1.5 million to 3 million cases or 23,000 25 lb boxes per day, in preparation for the 2019 peach season.
The expansion of the Lane Southern Orchards packing house also includes significant upgrades in technology with regard to grading and sorting, the company said. Part of the multi-million dollar investment includes an expanded cold chain within the facility, an upgraded sorting technology system, enhanced LED lighting and new shipping and receiving facilities. Georgia-based Durand-Wayland is also outfitting a customized gentle robotic bin handling system to streamline efficiencies in the new packing house.
“Since joining International Farming Corporation’s family of companies in 2015, they have been a great partner for us in building upon the 100+ year history of Lane. They understand the culture of farming and have given us the opportunity for tremendous growth. The ability to enhance our facilities to create best in class efficiencies and quality control is the latest example of that growth,” notes Mark Sanchez, CEO of Lane Southern Orchards.
The merger of Lane Southern Orchards and Taylor Orchards last year resulted in combined acreage, facilities and innovation, making this the largest combined peach and pecan operation in the United States, the company shared. With new plantings in 2018 & 2019, the overall total acreage of the company now encompasses more than 10,000 acres of peaches and pecans, all under the direction of the company’s President of Farming Operations, Jeff Wainwright.
In addition to the farming operations, Duke Lane III, Partner in Genuine Georgia and Director of Sales for Lane Southern Orchards notes, “The complete renovation of the original Lane facility with new technology allows us to easily handle the additional supply of peaches and be a better supplier to our existing customers while we expand our customer base.”
In further explaining Lane’s competitive advantage, Lane states “Modernization makes consistency and supply more streamlined; however, every piece of fruit in a Lane Southern Orchards box is still hand-picked and hand-packed and flavor will always be goal number one for our customers.”
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