Empaque Don Jorge (EDJ), located in El Rosario, Sinaloa Mexico, hometown packhouse of El Grupo Crespo’s Crespo Organic & RCF brands, opened last week. EDJ, along with other northern region packinghouses is opening late this season. But Crespo said the pack house is opening with improved efficiencies; designed to increase outputs, boost quality and improve working conditions for workers, many whose families have worked at the facility for over four generations.
The packing house, originally built by Roberto Crespo Fitch in the early 1970’s, has now been totally revamped by his children Malu, Roberto, Jorge and Jose Angel, who today run the family’s agricultural business - El Grupo Crespo. The siblings initiated the three-year modernization project in the fall of 2016, and expect it to be fully complete before the 2020 seasons begins. Most major upgrades and modernizations were completed in time for last week’s opening, just in time for the busy summer season.
The company said the transformation over the past few years includes the replacement of all older model metal machinery with new high tech, efficient and worker-friendly stainless-steel machines: washers, sorters, polishers, conveyors and packing lines, all covering the facility’s 100,000+ ft² of packing space. Empaque Don Jorge maintains a dedicated packing area for its non-treated Canadian exports, and has replaced and modernized all machinery for this area as well, it shared.
The increased packing space includes an additional packing line currently in place, and an additional hydro-thermic tank installed - bringing the number to 11 - allowing for 64,000 kg of fresh mangoes to be treated under USDA APHIS hydro-thermic guidelines. The existing iron tanks will all be switched out and replaced by new stainless steel tanks at the end of the project. The packing house opened this season with 5 of the 11 tanks already changed.
The cold chain system and cold storage volume, which included over 7 cold rooms and pre and post- cooling facilities has increased by over 4 truckloads. Additionally, Crespo said new state of the art cooling equipment has replaced the old in every sector and in every room.
According to Crespo, the revamp and changes to the facility make Empaque Don Jorge the largest hydro-thermic mango packing facility in Latin America. The facility has not only slightly increased its 14 truckload per day capacity but also optimized the entire packing process - which will greatly improve quality and keep all costs controllable. The entire mango packing process happens in 72 hours, with over 18 of those allocated to post-pack cooling.