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Lindsay juice plant changing hands

Lindsay juice plant changing hands

Tulare County farmer Tommy Elliott has confirmed the sale of the family’s long time citrus juice business in Lindsay.

Tommy, who has taken over the family business from his father Tokkie Elliott, says the juice plant has been sold to LA-based Vita-Pakt Citrus Products this month.

“We’re one of the last of the breed of vertically integrated orange farmers who juiced their own oranges” says Tommy.

The business – California Citrus Producers Inc. (CCPI) – has been in the family for 40 years employing around 25.

The Elliott family continues to run their Cutler California citrus groves and packing operations under Wileman Brothers and Elliott as well as  Kaweah Container, Inc. with operations in Cutler and Visalia. The company makes corrugated boxes for ag and industry. The Elliotts also were one of the founders of Visalia Community Bank.

Vita-Pakt already has a citrus ingredient business at the CCPI property in Lindsay where it processes various citrus ingredients from peel and pulp for flavoring and employs 150 according to the Lindsay Chamber of Commerce.They also have a dryer in Del Rey where they expanded in 2004.

Vita-Pakt offers a broad choices of citrus products manufactured by one company.

The line-up of products include single strength, Not From Concentrate juices,  all natural juice concentrates, beverage bases, purees, and numerous specialty citrus peel products.

The peel products range from dried and milled granules for the spice, tea, and brewing industries to pasteurized and frozen shredded peel for preserving and bakery applications. The sugared lemon and orange flavedos, signature of Vita-Pakt, have become mainstay ingredients in the baking industry. They also process kiwi.

The company is said to be the dominant supplier of citrus peel for marmalade in North America.

Vita-Pakt has also been certified organic processor for more than 15 years.

The consolidation means there are four major juicers in Tulare County. Odwalla in Dinuba, Vita-Pakt in Lindsay, Sunkist and Ventura Coastal with operations in Tipton and Visalia who run as one joint venture under the Ventura Coastal name.

The sale is said to be final as of Dec.1.

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