The Produce News – March 28, 2022

henryavo Uncategorized

Henry Avocado greatly increased its capacity for custom-ripening in its Milpitas distribution center in Northern California, which increased its annual volume there to more than 2 million cartons. Key to the bigger number is the addition of seven forced-air ripening rooms giving it a total of 25.

Expansion of Milpitas Distribution Center Reflects Henry’s Goals for California’s 2022 Crop

By Rob Bryant

While this year’s entire California avocado crop is projected at 306 million lbs.- slightly higher than the state’s sub-300-million total last year – Henry Avocado greatly increased its capacity for ripening at its Milpitas distribution center in Northern California. The expansion increases the annual volume there to more than 2 million cartons.

According to Phil Henry, the year-round grower/distributor’s emphasis on quality and freshness prompted the additional capability, which is all part of the corporate 5-year growth plan. One of seven strategically located centers in California, Arizona, Texas and North Carolina, Henry’s enhanced Milpitas operation will keep it poised to meet the increasing needs of the populous Bay Area and beyond.

In addition to San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose, Milpitas distributes as far south as Monterey and Salinas; east to Modesto; and north to Sacramento. By having its own fleet of five refrigerated tractor trailers, and two smaller refrigerated delivery trucks, which are operated by Henry drivers, this important link in the supply chain is totally under company control.

Key to the bigger number in Milpitas is the increase in ripening rooms from 18 to 25 and cold storage capacity from 216 pallets to 300. Henry prefers the term “fresh chain” to “cold storage” as it reinforces the precise logistics the company has established to minimize the time from harvest to customer delivery.

“We’re in the ‘fresh’ business,” Humberto Arteaga, the center’s manager explains. “We promise ‘Always fresh, Always on time,’ so we expand our capability to provide consistent service as the market increases.”

The vigilance is present in every Henry center. Earlier this year, Andrew Flores joined the headquarters office in Escondido to serve as supply manager and market analyst. A graduate of California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Flores brings extensive experience in production, sourcing, logistics and sales. He is the latest addition to a team chartered to anticipate and expand Centers as required.

Henry could equally claim the company is in the custom-ripening business. Currently 75% of its deliveries are in that state of readiness. Ripening to order, which Henry pioneered in 1983, requires a production regimentation centered around a total of 120 ripening rooms. In effect, Henry’s capacities and capabilities change regularly so its performance and commitments don’t.

The favorable impact of custom-ripening can’t be overstated. Henry’s commitment to the process assures its retail and foodservice buyers that they will receive the desired stage of product ripeness to meet individual needs from promotion to impulse buying and menu planning.

A one-page HASS AVOCADO CustomRipe Ordering Guide, a marketing fixture in the industry for almost two decades, is available from any of Henry’s marketing and sales offices listed on its website. The Guide has helped inform nearly a generation of avocado buyers about the five separate and distinct stages of ripening that are available from Henry’s distribution centers.

All of Henry’s distribution centers are Primus Labs certified and meet or exceed federal, state and industry Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) guidelines. Two are located in Escondido, CA; two in San Antonio and Houston, TX; and one each in Phoenix, AZ, Charlotte, NC and Milpitas, CA. All seven also have Oxyion air purification systems to reduce bacteria, viruses and mold to keep the safest and sanitary environment possible.

Prior to the start of the California harvest, the California packing house in Escondido upgraded its Aweta Optical Sorter, which improves the speed and accuracy of grading, sizing and packing. During peak harvest from spring through early summer, when the California fruit is most abundant, the machine’s efficiency and capability mark its place as a quality contributor in the time-sensitive process.

A grower since its founding in 1925, Henry has been a year-round distributor since 1990. With the California season well underway and the quality and supply established, Phil Henry anticipates the kind of pricing balance that will accommodate whatever promotions Henry’s retail and foodservice customers will want throughout the season.

The Produce News – August 20, 2020

henryavo Uncategorized

The multiple safety measures that went into the design and construction of Henry Avocado’s packing and distribution center in 2018 were just a beginning. Since then, empowered employees have investigated and implemented new processes to maintain a leadership position in product and facility cleanliness.

A year-round distributor since 1990, and a grower-packer since 1925, Henry has established many important partnerships, yet none more important nor timely than those involved in strengthening its product purity from sourcing to distribution from a number of sources.

Luke Varvel, food safety manager, and Jorge Tostado, sanitation manager, have linked their responsibilities to give Henry an around-the-clock regimen that is among the finest in the fresh produce industry, and one that certainly far exceeds established standards.

First, Henry launched an upgraded sanitation program in 2019 that was developed under the expert guidance of Justin Kerr at Factor IV Solutions, a food facility sanitation consulting firm recognized for creating customized food safety practices.

At his suggestion, Henry reworked its packing line to eliminate components that were difficult to clean and implemented several operational improvements. Among them are the nightly use of state-of-the-art cleaning equipment, including foamers, floor scrubbers, and a dry vapor steam machine. New cleaning agents like chlorine dioxide were an important part of the mix.

Now, Tostado’s cleaning crews apply rotating sanitizers to effectively treat all equipment and they have implemented a Full Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOPs), validated by Factor IV Solutions. It includes modernizing the packing line and performing annual “deep-cleaning” procedures. The after-hours sanitation crew were provided with the latest hygienic sanitation tools and detergents best suited to avocado packing lines.

Kerr believes that the Henry duo of Varvel and Tostado has exceeded fresh avocado processing standards. “Luke and Jorge’s objective was to create the best sanitizing system possible by reducing contaminants from every source possible,” Kerr recalls. “Ensuring their success, all levels of Henry’s personnel showed a remarkable spirit to learn and practice the procedures we introduced.”

“A sanitation program, however, is only as good as its verification by independent sources,” Kerr advises, “and we are allowed to continuously validate that Henry is getting the results you need to be the best.”

Capping the Factor IV innovations is a product flow sequence that limits the possibility of cross contamination. It includes isolating all product handling equipment to designated zones.

Any bins used in overnight storage are cleaned and sanitized with a bin-washer, before being returned to the field for reuse. And, all food surfaces in the production area are cleaned and sanitized nightly. Even Sterilex Ultra Step treated mats are placed at entrances, and between the rest area and production area, to eliminate contamination from employee footwear.

Elimination of up to 99.9 percent of viruses and bacteria

As part of the facility-wide sanitation upgrade, Henry also added the products and services of Oxyion, whose process features Oxyion®, a scientifically-validated antiviral and antimicrobial technology that eliminates up to 99.9% of viruses and bacteria such as Listeria, Salmonella and E.coli.

Jimmy Williams, sales and marketing director for Oxyion North America, explains the hydrogen peroxide-based system effectively sanitizes the product and work surfaces at Henry. “The Oxyion generators, which now operate continuously throughout Henry’s production and cold storage areas, offer a food safety solution, and an important level of biosecurity through continuous neutralization of air and surface pathogens,” he confirmed.

Oxyion is also applied in the pre-cooler area to treat field bins of avocados nightly prior to entering the production facility, and to sanitize all production area surfaces and equipment on a round the clock basis.

After packing, all cartons of avocados are placed into forced-air rooms as soon as possible and are then cooled and treated with ozone, at a minimum of 300 ppb for 6 hours prior to being released for forced-air ripening or shipping.

“Henry’s commitment to bring their customers an overall better, safer avocado enabled it to develop one of the best overall post-harvest solutions currently available. We were proud to play a role in setting that bar,” Williams said.

Coronavirus prevention requirements

Coronavirus prevention practices were swiftly put into place in the packing and processing areas and will evolve as health agencies develop new models. Among them are prohibiting visitors in the processing areas, and, prior to starting a shift, all employees must wear a mask, answer Coronavirus questions, and have their temperature taken. 

As a new facility, Henry’s production area was built to handle higher volumes in the future and therefore has ample space to place workstations at least six feet apart and social distancing is required in the break and lunch rooms.

Headed by the Escondido facility, all of Henry’s Primus Labs-certified distribution centers meet or exceed the federal, state and Industry Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) guidelines. Two are located in Escondido and there are one each in Phoenix, AZ; Milpitas, CA; San Antonio and Houston, TX and Charlotte, NC. All participate in the safety programs of the home office wherever applicable.

“We strive to lead our industry with the latest and most effective food safety programs,” Phil Henry added. “We’ve made a commitment to stay current and vigilant so that our customers in retail and foodservice can be confident in receiving fresh conventional and organic avocados that surpass industry food safety standards.”

The Produce News – January 6, 2020

henryavo Uncategorized

Henry’s CustomRipe program has product available under its Bravocado and Green Goddess brands. They are ripened to order and distributed from all seven of Henry’s modern distribution centers.

Henry’s New and Upgraded Centers Increase Customer Experience

By Rob Bryant
January 6, 2020

If the fickle pendulum of supply swings back to the robust levels industry insiders predict for 2020, Henry Avocado is positioned to help its customers reach their sales potential. 

“As we all recognize in the fresh avocado business, consumption parallels supply,” Phil Henry noted. “So the recent expansion of our operations was designed to aid in the delivery of quality fruit whenever the supply increases. Our new facilities in three select market areas, plus the four other centers we operate,” he continued, “will enable us to respond more efficiently and effectively to whatever pent-up demand occurs from our customer base.”

Earlier this year, Henry moved its original headquarters, which housed the business since its founding in 1925, to a modern new site also in Escondido. The 50,000- foot building includes new processing machinery and additional personnel, as well as 20 forced-air ripening rooms and five loading docks. 

As it stands, Henry’s new plant can custom-ripen more than two million cartons of avocados annually, with ample room to expand. For the past two years, the Escondido-based grower/shipper, with year- round distribution since 1990, has been gearing up for the eventual reversal of supply fortunes by upgrading and expansion of facilities across the country.

A state-of-the-art ripening and distribution center opened in Charlotte, NC in 2017, to serve the growing mid-Atlantic region. This 25,000-foot site is capable of custom-ripening and distributing more than one million cartons each year. To fulfill current demand and expanded growth of the market, it’s designed with thousands of feet of refrigeration rooms, loading docks and nine ripening rooms. 

In addition, Henry’s operation in Phoenix moved to new quarters in 2019. The larger facility features eight upgraded forced-air ripening rooms, increased refrigerated storage space and modern processing machinery.

Henry’s CustomRipe program continues to expand as the company now has more than 100 ripening rooms at its seven full-service distribution centers. They are all expandable to meet the growing demand for precise ripeness options.

A one-page CustomRipe Ordering Guide, a marketing aid and fixture in the industry for almost two decades, is available from any of Henry’s marketing and sales offices listed on its web site. It has helped inform almost a generation of avocado buyers of the five separate and distinct stages of ripening that can be ordered from Henry’s distribution centers. The publication is part of Henry Avocado’s efforts to consistently provide unsurpassed quality with great service. 

“We consider the supply chain to be the key element to quality and that is what motivates our decisions to modernize and open centers as required,” Henry added. “Each of our centers are strategically located, designed and managed to ensure quality, food safety and fresh delivery to our customers in select markets.”

Headed by the new Escondido building, all of Henry’s Primus Labs-certified distribution centers meet or exceed the federal, state and Industry Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) guidelines. Two are located in Escondido and there are one each in Phoenix, AZ; Milpitas, CA; San Antonio and Houston, TX and Charlotte, NC. All are freeway close with a modern fleet of refrigerated trucks.

In the three decades since Henry transitioned from a grower/shipper to year-round distributor, it has established growing relationships with the leading shippers in Mexico, Peru and Chile; all who are in compliance with Henry’s rigid freshness and cold chain requirements.

Always a pioneer in the industry, Henry was among the first to commit to growing and promoting the Hass variety of avocados. Subsequently, Henry developed the first forced-air ripening rooms in 1983; and by adding import contacts and capabilities south of the border, became one of the earliest year-round suppliers of fresh avocados in 1990.

Regardless of high or low production from any particular growing region the past decade, the fresh avocado industry has grown at nearly 10% per year, with Henry’s numbers slightly higher. 

Looking forward Henry cites many positives for the industry in general and Henry Avocado in particular. “Each year more groves on both sides of the border are completing the certification process for organic production,” Henry said. 

Currently 20% of the groves Henry owns or manages are organic and are marketed through its Bravocado brand. The increase in organic consumption, which corresponds with the growing consumer awareness of the fruit’s health benefits, has also given impetus to Henry’s expansions.