Campus: Cal Poly San Luis Obispo -- June 13, 2003
Cal Poly, Mission Produce Plant Partner Avocado
Orchard on Campus
Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture and Mission Produce began planting
a new 50-acre avocado orchard on campus this week.
The new orchard is a joint venture between the two partners, designed
to be a profitable commercial operation as well as a showcase and field
classroom for the latest orchard management techniques.
Mission Produce, a Southern California avocado and avocado products
company with annual sales of more than $100 million, is currently planting
6,400 avocado trees on 50 acres at Cal Poly. Mission Produce CEO Steve
Barnard, a Cal Poly alumnus, was on campus Thursday (June 12) for the
start of planting.
Cal Poly President Warren Baker, College of Agriculture Dean David Wehner
and Associate Dean of Agriculture Mark Shelton toured the orchard with
Barnard under sunny skies Thursday.
Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture and Mission Produce, based in
Ventura, announced plans for the orchard partnership in August 2002.
Mission Produce has been preparing the orchard site for planting since
Mission Produce is providing orchard management and harvesting crews,
as well as state-of-the-art irrigation and orchard-care systems. Cal
Poly is providing the land and water for the orchard. The company will
make a donation to Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture at the end
of each harvest based on proceeds from the sale of the avocados.
The new Mission Produce orchard will offer students the chance to learn
first-hand about large-scale commercial avocado operation and integrated
avocado marketing practices, something Cal Poly can’t do now,
Cal Poly’s location and its agriculture program – the fourth
largest in the nation – make it an excellent site for a showcase
avocado orchard, Shelton explained. Avocados flourish from Mexico to
California’s Cuesta Grade.
Contact: Mark Shelton, Associate Dean, College of Agriculture