Packing Citrus with Dan Richey
My name is Dan Richie. I'm the President and CEO of Riverfront Packing Company, which is a vertically integrated company of 4,000 acres of Grove, a fresh fruit packing facility, and a marketing company that markets our fruit globally. 85% of what we do here goes into the international markets. What you're seeing here is an export. Back though, as she's packing it, she's looking at the quality and as she gets to the top layer, she'll look for the absolute best quality to put on the top. This is the blossom end, and this is the stem end, and you can see just a general appearance is better. We want that to be on the top layer. We don't want that to be on the top layer. What you're seeing is the proof going into the middle. This week, that is for domestic. The proof is staying here as it is export, so like this would stay the export, this would probably go to juice. They missed it out there, and then something like this would go to domestic.
Each piece of fruit has a picture taken of it. It determines the diameter of the fruit. They average the four pictures to a diameter. That diameter is determined. The computer tells it where to drop all of the same diameter fruit. So, all the same sized fruits being dropped in the same place to be packed by the packers. It's all interfaced with a sticker system. We have five label banks here with all different stickers, plus the outruns on either side. All these are different stickers for different customers. This is a thirty-two size 32 domestic fact. There are 32 pieces in here, that's why it's a 32. This is what you asked a question, what do we do different for export?
Notice the carton is bigger, and you have this type of packaging done. That's different because this is going in the international market. It's got a long trip. Same size food, little different grade. If you look at the carton, it's bigger because you don't want to have pack pressure on something that's going to be in the carton for 40 days. You look at the grade, but as I mentioned to you, you notice these are all blossom ended up. Now get a view of that. Now if you pull that carton now, you can get a perspective of it. Now if it wasn't blossom end up, close your eyes and if you were to look at it like this what's your impression? So, it's details. If you take care of the little details, the rest of it takes care of itself.
We want to know who that backer is. We give them a number, and it goes into our payroll, and then we generate payroll from this. Well, when I was in Japan once, a gentleman said to me, "This is the way we like our food packs." And I saw, okay, that was Packer number 14. So, I thought, "I'm gonna figure out how we can put her name on this carton so when I go over there, I can have pictures taken, and they can see the carton that they packed standing with the Japanese customer. And it's a pride thing. And then I was proud of them. Packer number six becomes Alicia Ramirez, so she has her name on every carton that she packs. And if I'm in Japan and I'm looking at this carton, this carton will be in Japan. And if I'm over there visiting, I'm going in April, and I'll have pictures taken, and I'll have a picture taken with this carton next to the Japanese customer with her name on it.And I'll bring it back and give it to her. I'm proud of them, and I want to let them know that their work is being recognized. And im proud of them, and I want to let them know that their work is being recognized.
Packing Citrus: A Journey of Precision and Pride with Dan Richey!
In this captivating video, witness the artistry and precision involved in packing citrus for export. Every fruit is carefully examined for quality, and as they are packed, the top layer receives the absolute best fruits, showcasing the blossom end for a visually appealing display.
Dan provides valuable insights into the high-tech grading system, where each fruit's diameter is determined through pictures, and the computer guides the packers to place fruits of the same size in designated areas. The fruit's journey is seamlessly coordinated with the sticker system, ensuring each carton bears the appropriate label for different customers.
For export-bound citrus, the process takes on added significance. The cartons are larger to prevent pack pressure during the extended journey, and special attention is given to arranging the fruits with their blossom end facing up for an appealing presentation.
However, the process is not just about efficiency; it's about fostering a sense of pride and recognition for the packers. Dan shares how he was inspired during a trip to Japan, where he saw the importance of acknowledging the packers' efforts. As a result, Riverfront Packing now includes the name of the packer on each carton, creating a sense of ownership and pride in their work.
Dan's commitment to his team is evident as he plans to travel to Japan to present the packers' cartons alongside Japanese customers, celebrating their dedication and craftsmanship. This attention to detail and fostering a culture of recognition embodies the values that drive Riverfront Packing Company's success.
Join Vero Heritage Center in this behind-the-scenes exploration of packing citrus, where precision, pride, and a sense of community converge to produce fruit that delights customers worldwide. Discover the magic that happens at Riverfront Packing, where every carton carries not just citrus but also the dedication and pride of the packers who make it all possible.