Written by The Business Journal Staff
Fowler’s Bee Sweet Citrus has donated $600,000 in state-of-the-art citrus packing equipment to the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology at Fresno State.
Jim Marderosian, Bee Sweet Citrus founder and president, spoke at an event this morning to present the fruit packing line.
The packing line can inspect, clean, wash, dry, sort, box, label and seal fruit harvested from the 1,000-acre campus farm. Located in the Bee Sweet Citrus Laboratory on campus in the Grosse Industrial Technology Building, formerly room 154, the equipment will provide industrial technology, food science and plant science students with hands-on instruction for mechanical systems and industrial maintenance as they apply to food processing and safety.
It is the centerpiece of the new IT 191T “Fundamentals of Citrus Processing Line” class, taught by Dr. Athanasios Alexandrou.
“The citrus industry continues to invest in new technologies, advanced automation, innovative research and modern infrastructure to compete in the world market,” said Marderosian, a 1979 Fresno State agricultural business graduate. “Bee Sweet Citrus is proud to invest in Fresno State and the Jordan College so their students are prepared to meet the challenges of the modern agricultural industry.”
The packing line is composed of equipment from six specialized area equipment manufacturers that include Aweta Americas, Decco U.S. Postharvest, Intelligrated, Mid Valley Packing and Supply, Valley Automation Solutions and Valley PackLine Solutions. J.M. Equipment Company also provided forklifts that were used in the delivery and construction process.
Sections of the equipment can process up to 16 oranges, mandarins, grapefruit, lemons, nectarines, peaches or pomegranates per second, and will utilize fruit that is grown on the 1,000-acre campus farm.
“We are so appreciative of this gift and all of the resources that Jim and Bee Sweet Citrus have extended to us, from hosting classes at his facility to speaking to our students on campus and our awards banquet,” said Dr. Athanasios Alexandrou, chair of the industrial technology department. “This equipment will be immediately utilized by a full class excited to learn about this technology. Being able to work with other departments and colleges on campus makes this a gift that will better prepare Fresno State students for food safety and agricultural system management careers far into the future.”