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Side Hill Citrus is a family-owned and operated Satsuma mandarin orchard in rural Lincoln area, Placer County, California. Established in 1975, Side Hill Citrus proprietor Rich Ferreira began with 100 mandarin orange trees on a 17-acre piece of land. The ranch underwent expansion over the years to the current 48 acres with more than 3000 Satsuma mandarin orange trees. He runs the extensive ranch together with his two daughters. Side Hill Citrus also grows other citrus fruits such as Meyer lemons and grapefruits. Side Hill Citrus is certified organic by the California Certified Organic Farmers. In addition, the farm uses certified organic horticultural practices in its citrus farming.
The mandarin oranges from Side Hill Citrus are not usually affected by the drought in California because the farm is located on the hillside of the Sacramento highlands. The high altitude offers cool temperatures that are good for mandarins. In addition, the ranch has good soil combination and irrigation methods, which makes the mandarins to have sweet and strong flavor as compared to those grown elsewhere. Even some exhibitors acknowledged that Side Hill Citrus has the best mandarins not only in Placer County but also in entire California. Although the competition from other growers is significant, the proprietor is confident that his farming practices have given him the competitive advantage required to survive in the citrus production market. For instance, Side Hill Citrus is a company that picks its mandarins as they ripen rather than felling in a swoop by machines as other commercial growers do.
Side Hill Citrus enjoys a huge customer base in and outside California. The fact that the ranch has been certified organic since 1989 makes health-conscious people demand its products. Side Hill Citrus sells its products directly to customers in a shop based in Newcastle. Like many other farms, Side Hill Citrus encounters various challenges in growing mandarins. For example, prolonged rains cause molds on the crop thus degrading the quality. Too much water also makes the trees susceptible to diseases (Kimball 2012). Animals especially deer are a big challenge to the farm because they nibble and rub against the trunks thereby breaking the trees. Sixty percent of new mandarin trees planted is killed by the invasion of deer into the ranch annually. Gophers regularly kill and weaken trees if not kept away.
Side Hill Citrus harvests over 100 tons of mandarins every year. The company adheres to the strict organic standards of citrus farming in which all methods of farming and processing of the harvest rely on the earth’s natural resources. For instance, the company uses irrigation systems that encourage water conservation and retention. Pests are controlled by beneficial insects instead of pesticides and use of green manure rather than artificial fertilizers. The market for Satsuma mandarin oranges has been growing exponentially in the recent years due to the increased dietary needs. Satsuma mandarin oranges have immense health benefits in terms of vitamin C. The fruits have a high concentration of synephrine, a key ingredient in decongestants. Moreover, they are seedless, succulent, and easy to peel.
Brown International Corporation
Brown International Corporation is one of the leading global companies in the manufacture of citrus processing equipment and systems. With over 50 years of experience, Brown is a major player in the citrus production industry because it supplies cost-effective processing machinery, equipment, and systems. Other than the manufacture of citrus processing machinery and equipment, the company has also diversified into various industries such as fish farming, cheese production, and wastewater treatment. Some of its flagship products include; juice extractors, sizers, finishers, by-product recovery systems, and plant processing control systems. The company is headquartered in Winter Haven, Florida.
Citrus Oil Extraction
The company has state-of-the-art technology in oil extraction. The Brown Oil Extractor (BOE) is a machine that has been optimized to remove citrus oil while leaving the fruit intact. Hence, the machine also reduces waste while increasing operational efficiency. The technology allows the machines to adjust to the changing fruit conditions in order to produce quality results. BOE uses less water compared to other oil recovery systems in the market. The oil extractor works together with other machines such as citrus dryer and elevator that quickly move products to the next production stage. BOE has rotating rollers that scrapers the peel from the fruit. Quantity, advancing speed of fruits, and speed of rollers can also be all altered depending on the hourly capacities.
Washing and Sizing equipment
Brown Citrus Sizer is processing equipment that is easily adaptable and customizable. The rollers can be adjusted to meet the required specifications during production. The built-in washing system washes the surface of fruits by immersion. Then, fruits are rinsed using clean fresh water and moved to the next compartment for subsequent sizing operations. The Brown Citrus Sizer can operate at the top speed of 70 tons of fruits per hour on various sizing ranges from 1 inch to 5-inch diameter. It is important to note that the company’s citrus sizer is constructed with FDA permitted plastics and stainless steel alloys.
The company makes various models of juice extractors to accommodate the scale of citrus production lines. The juice extractor moves at high speed and accuracy. Extraction of juice is a time-sensitive activity. However, Brown Juice Extractor has been engineered to process 720 fruits per minute thereby offering reliability in the flow of juice. The machine does not mix the pulp and peels because it has several cups that squeeze the pulp out of each individual fruit. The pulp escapes through a small hole in the bottom of the cup. The same machine removes fibers and seeds from the pulp.
Although the industrial machinery market is dominated by small and large manufacturers, Brown’s competitiveness is derived from its customer care services. The company has a well-trained customer care team that addresses the needs of the customers timely and effectively. The desire to push productivity and innovation to a new level is at the heart of company’s future strategic productions in processing equipment, machinery, and systems.
Syngenta is one of the leading crop protection companies in the world. It has a rich heritage of two decades since its establishment. The company undertakes cutting-edge research and development to produce herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides for citrus farming. With a presence in over 90 countries and 24,000 employees, Syngenta is the undisputed leader of crop protection industry. Majority of citrus growers have entered into a partnership with Syngenta to develop products that can increase the yield of fruits. In response, the company has a wide pool of scientists and researchers that are constantly developing new solutions in the field of crop protection.
Syngenta herbicides help in the elimination and prevention of weeds. An example of Citrus herbicide manufactured by Syngenta is gramoxone, which has an impeccable record in weed control. Afri-Flex is an insecticide from Syngenta that kills and deters pests, which destroy citrus foliage, flowers, and fruits. Graduate A+ and Ridomil Gold help in the fight against fungi and soil-borne diseases respectively. Syngenta is an associate member of the California Citrus Mutual (CCM), an umbrella organization that brings together citrus growers, shippers, marketers, and packages. Through CCM, Syngenta has been providing citrus growers with resources they need to produce healthy crops. For instance, the company has been providing extension services to members of CCM in Placer County to ensure that a dangerous bug known as Asian citrus psyllid does not attack the orchards or spread to neighboring ranches (Qureshi, Kostyk, &Stansly, 2014). They are considered the most dangerous pests of citrus plants.
The company has assisted CCM in organizing and facilitating workshops aimed at keeping the California citrus industry vibrant and profitable. For years, Syngenta has been financing various corporate social responsibility projects, particularly in irrigation to ensure that farmers benefit from the reliable water supply for the crops as well as prevent the misuse of water as a resource. An efficient irrigation system is one the key goals that Syngenta has been seeking to achieve in the citrus industry to ensure farmers can keep up with water demands in the changing weather patterns. The company has conducted several risk assessment studies to ascertain how various citrus growing areas can optimize water use with the use of latest irrigation systems and practices. Syngenta has also significantly reduced the amount of water consumed in its manufacturing sites across the world as an environmental management policy.
Kimball, D. A. (2012). Citrus processing: a complete guide. Springer Science & Business Media.
Qureshi, J. A., Kostyk, B. C., &Stansly, P. A. (2014). Insecticidal suppression of Asian citrus psyllidDiaphorinacitri (Hemiptera: Liviidae) vector of huanglongbing pathogens. PloS one, 9 (12), e112331.
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