Ballantine Produce Co. has added Sun Valley Packing, a long-standing and well respected premium tree fruit and table grape grower, packer, shipper to the Ballantine marketing program. Sun Valley is well-known for being a leader in the industry and progressive in its development of new acreage of peach, nectarine, plum and pluot varieties, which have superior flavor and high color. Both companies have been very active in furthering production programs to give the consumer an improved eating experience. This process is producing specialized products including SuperSweet white and yellow flesh peaches and nectarines, doughnut peaches, plus a full line of sweet pluots. These specialized products compliment a full range of high color, good eating conventional stone fruit. Each company will continue to grow product in their individually owned orchards in addition to representing growers throughout California. "The addition of Sun Valley’s volume provides Ballantine the opportunity to offer a wider range of products in expanded programs to the retail trade. In addition, Ballantine will continue to share in the growth of the industry leading trademarked Ripe N Ready program," said David Albertson, principal of Ballantine Produce, "Ballantine has the opportunity to offer a portfolio of products throughout the entire California season that is second to none in the industry." Walt Jones, principal of Sun Valley Packing said "the rationale for this decision is in recognition of the industry’s need to consolidate, in addition to the effectiveness of Ballantine’s activities in the marketplace over the past several years." 200 varieties Ballantine will be marketing nearly 200 varieties of peaches, nectarines, plums and pluots in over 35 different pack styles, while having three facilities available for optimal utilization and efficiency. In addition to Ballantine packing and marketing a significant volume of stone fruit and table grapes, the company will continue to market other commodities including apples, pears, persimmons, pomegranates, quince and citrus. Steve Ryan will continue to be responsible for managing the Ballantine daily sales activities. Continuing to recognize the demand as a year round producer and marketer, Ballantine will be increasing their import program from South America with a full range of stone fruit and table grapes including its participation in an expanded Chilean Ripe N Ready program. Ron Wynn will continue to manage the California and Chile Ripe N Ready program. Tom Cassell, who recently joined the Ballantine senior management team, said "this increased volume was needed to continue to serve an expanding customer base. Ballantine has been very effective in developing supply chain solutions, including vendor managed inventory services, category management programs, merchandising, and logistics strategies for the retail market." Prior to the 2003 California season, Ballantine and the Kaprielian companies consolidated all marketing activities under the Ballantine banner. Herb Kaprielian was instrumental in pioneering the improvement in the eating experience of California tree fruit and the subsequent development of the Ripe N Ready program currently operating in California and Chile. The success of the earlier combination has now evolved into further consolidation of the packing, cold storage, and grower service functions of both enterprises now operating as one, Ballantine Produce Co.