Last November, Cal Poly’s Agricultural Business Management (ABM)/National Agricultural Marketing Association (NAMA) Club took tours at two facilities owned by the Wonderful Company: Wonderful Pistachios & Almonds in Lost Hills and Wonderful Citrus in Delano.
ABM/NAMA President Haley Seeger said the tour of the two facilities “gave our students the opportunity to see how large scale operations are operated and learn more about two of California’s most important commodities.”
The Lost Hills processing plant is the main facility for Wonderful’s almond and pistachio operation, boasting over 131,000 square feet of almond and pistachio processing facilities and cold storage. The plant is currently undergoing a five-year, $300 million capital expenditure program that will continue to modernize the capabilities of the facility.
The plant is an impressive feat of food processing engineering, as everything has to run smoothly in order to meet the demands of its customers and achieve the quality standards Wonderful sets for itself. Each year, the company delivers approximately 450 million pounds of nuts and is the largest grower and processor of almonds and pistachios that are marketed and processed under one entity.
After the tour, ABM/NAMA took a short bus ride to Delano to tour the Wonderful Halos plant. The tour was given by a former Brock Center Associate, Amanda Meneses.
The Wonderful Halos packinghouse measures 640,000 square feet, the equivalent of 11 football fields. During peak season (November to May), the plant is running 20 hours per day, six days a week, processing over 4,000 bins of California mandarins per day. This includes its custom made presort line, which is 310 feet long with over five miles of chain, making it the longest electronic grader and sizer in the world.
The packinghouse is divided into three sections, the aforementioned sorter section, packaging and storage. The process is at breakneck speed due to the nature of mandarin shelf life.
Every Wonderful facility is equipped to serve its employees as well. Both facilities have an on-site gym and wellness center, where employees are encouraged to take time during their workday to get checked by a doctor in order to ensure employee health.
For more information on Cal Poly ABM/NAMA, visit their website at: http://agb.calpoly.edu/content/current/abm_nama.
For more information on the Wonderful Company, visit their website at: http://www.wonderful.com/