A large increase in square footage at the Enza Zaden facility in Salinas, CA, has resulted in what the company said is fortification of “its local investment and its dedication to local growers.”
Now at 43,000 square feet, the building was more than doubled in size and includes an industrial-quality seed processing, storage and distribution center, plus office space for approximately 40 of the company’s 100 employees in the U.S.
The expansion is good news for onion growers, according to a recent press release from Enza Zaden USA.
“Prior to expansion, storage capacity at Enza Zaden was extremely limited in the context of demand,” the release said. “It was a challenge to get seeds to growers with desired expedience. The new facility includes almost 9,000 square feet of temperature and humidity-controlled storage.
The Enza Zaden onion program is significantly benefiting from the change.”
Quoting Luis Maas, senior onion breeder for Enza Zaden USA, the release continued, “We have invested heavily in our onion program for over a decade, leveraging breeding locations in Australia, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand and here in the United States.” The company works closely with growers “growers to understand the market,” Maas said. He added, “The new facility in Salinas, complemented by infrastructure investments in greenhouses, digital phenotyping, breeding technologies and expanded trialing locations in Mexico, Canada and the U.S., is helping us take our onion program to the next level.”
The release said that Enza Zaden’s onion portfolio “currently includes top short and intermediate-day programs, and a maturing pipeline of competitive hybrids for all market segments.”
Javier Russek, onion product specialist for the USA facility, said, “Our building expansion has created a powerful processing, storage and distribution hub in Salinas. Growing bulk crop markets including onion will especially benefit from the facility’s efficiencies, alongside our continuing commitment to product innovations that create competitive advantage for growers.”
And Ton van der Velden, president and CEO of Enza Zaden USA, said, “Our building expansion allows us to offer significantly increased inventory of diverse crops, which is important to growers across the U.S. but especially here in the Salinas Valley, where we have a dedicated team to service regional growers.”
The new facility has a sustainability-focused design, the result of Mike Moline, building and expansion seed operations manager, having worked with “local sustainable design experts WR&D Architects of Monterey, and Ausonio General Contractors of Castroville to execute the project.
Moline said, “From water and energy efficiency, to effective use of regional and recycled materials, to the state-of-the-art quality of the indoor environment, these companies helped us to meet our sustainable construction goals.”
The coming year will see another phase of the project that will include installation of more than 700 solar panels to enhance energy efficiency, the release said.
In addition to the head office in Salinas that employs 40 people, Enza Zaden has another 30 employees at its research station in San Juan Bautista. The local station is one of more than 20 such stations in countries around the world, and the release said the global reach ensures “growers can count on Enza Zaden for a broad range of high-quality crops developed specifically for local agro-climatic conditions.”
In the United States, “… growers also benefit from a dedicated regional sales team that prides itself on local knowledge and dedication to grower needs. Building and maintaining quality relationships is key to the team’s ongoing strategy to provide informed and local service.
At the recent Grand Opening celebration of the new facility, more than 80 Enza Zaden employees and their families were treated to a “Family Day” of barbecue, arts and crafts for the kids, deejay music and live entertainment as well as self-guided tours of the building.
Van der Velden said, “The lighthearted atmosphere and activities of Family Day provided a fun way to recognize the dedication of our employees, who work very hard here in the Salinas Valley and across North America to stay close to the market and develop strong relationships with growers. The event was our way of thanking both the employees and their families for their ongoing support.”