Lane Southern Orchards announced a $4 million renovation and expansion of its Fort Valley, Ga., packing house and headquarters.
The expansion, expected to be complete by early summer, will double the capacity of the current packing house from 1.5 million to 3 million cases or 23,000 25-pound boxes per day.
The expansion also includes significant upgrades in technology with regard to grading and sorting, an expanded and improved cold chain within the facility, an upgraded high-efficiency sorting technology system, enhanced LED lighting and new efficient shipping and receiving facilities. Durand-Wayland, LaGrange, La., is also outfitting a customized gentle robotic bin handling system to streamline efficiencies.
“Since joining International Farming Corp.’s family of companies in 2015, they have been a great partner for us in building upon the 100-plus year history of Lane. They understand the culture of farming, and have given us the opportunity for tremendous growth. The ability to enhance our facilities to create best-in-class efficiencies and quality control is the latest example of that growth,” says Mark Sanchez, chief executive officer.
With the surge of new plantings in 2018 and 2019, the overall total acreage of the company now encompasses more than 10,000 acres of peaches and pecans.
“The complete renovation of the original Lane facility with new technology allows us to easily handle the additional supply of peaches and be a better supplier to our existing customers while we expand our customer base,” says Duke Lane III, director of sales. “Modernization makes consistency and supply more streamlined, however, every piece of fruit in a Lane Southern Orchards box is still hand-picked and hand-packed, and flavor will always be goal No. 1 for our customers.”