Operations have begun at a newly constructed, 40,000 square-foot fresh produce pre-cooler conveniently located in Yuma's produce shipping district. The new Dandy Cooling facility was constructed and will operate through a partnership between Duda and Western Precooling Systems.

“The Yuma facility allows us to continue the same high level of customer service that we offer at our Dandy Cooling facilities in Salinas and Oxnard,” said Bill Nunziati, general manager of Dandy Cooling.

Managed and staffed by Dandy Cooling personnel, the facility handles Duda products exclusively.

“The advantage for our customers is greater efficiencies, especially in truck turnaround time,” said Rick Alcocer, director of fresh vegetable sales for Duda. Average load time at the facility is 30 minutes with average truck time running 90 minutes.

12 loading bays

The new, $2.5 million pre-cooler has 12 loading bays and the capacity to store up to 50,000 cartons. State-of-the-art features were incorporated into the design and construction of the facility, including temperature monitoring, food safety and security features such as digital cameras that keep track of loading and handling.

Dandy Cooling also provides cross-docking services for Duda customers at both the Yuma and Salinas locations.

The Yuma facility will be operated throughout the desert growing season, from November through April. Duda produces and supplies lettuce, mixed leaf, broccoli and cauliflower from its desert locations. The facility will also handle produce from Duda's Oxnard, Calif., location which includes celery and mixed leaf. Pre-cooler operations will then shift to the Dandy Cooling facility in Salinas.

Duda is a leading grower, shipper and marketer of fresh, fresh-cut and processed fruits and vegetables. Headquartered in Florida, the family-owned corporation has significant operations in California, Arizona, Texas and Georgia, with additional growing and shipping locations across the U.S. and in Mexico.