Officials break ground for Index Fresh
Latin American avocados headed for tables in the United States have a new place along the border to stay cool and ripen. Index Fresh cut the ribbon on a new 60,000-square-foot packing and ripening facility in Pharr on Jan. 9.
“I am just overjoyed to be here today,” Index Fresh President and CEO Dana Thomas said. “I love the new plant. If you are a distribution system nerd like I am, this is great stuff. You see cold storage and you get excited. So this is a great day for me.”
The eight-acre facility will provide a 300-pallet cold storage ripening warehouse. This allows the company to better serve customers in more parts of the United States. Thomas said an average of 25 avocado-laden trucks will cross the Pharr International Bridge every day to drop loads at Index Fresh. A similar number of trucks will depart the facility daily headed north to deliver the produce.
“Pharr International Bridge has been the leader when it comes to produce trade, accounting for nearly 60 percent of all fresh produce imported from Mexico crossing into the U.S. through our bridge,” Pharr Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez said. “We have a 12-year relationship with Index Fresh and are happy to have solidified our partnership through their investment in opening their first facility in Texas.”
In addition to state-of-the art ripening capabilities, the eight-acre Pharr facility will house nine truck offices for both operational and sales staff, as well as giving Index Fresh increased flexibility for both pack styles and re-packaging. Index Fresh handles avocados from Chile to Peru to Mexico to the United States.
A century-old company, Index Fresh started out as Index Orchards in southern California distributing lemons and oranges. By 1950 the company had acquired the United Growers Association and decided to branch out into avocado distribution. It replaced citrus as its primary product during the 60s and 70s. “Throughout the early 90s, the popularity of avocados increased and consumers demanded them year-round,” according to the company website.
The location in the Pharr Produce Park is the company’s second avocado ripening center, with the first being headquartered in California.