ENCINITAS — Ecke Ranch initiated a major expansion to its farms in Guatemala in December 2010. Due to the success and expansion of products, Ecke Ranch found itself in need of additional offshore capacity and selected its location in Guatamala as the site for building a new farm to support this demand.
“Farm 3 adds new capacity to satisfy demand in several key crop areas,” said COO Steve Rinehart. “The initial phase will cover approximately 250,000 square feet. The new farm is adjacent to Farm 1, and allows for efficiencies of scale and management functions. We will have site growers on the new farm, but the overall management can be done from Farm 1, which capitalizes on the long and successful history of producing high-quality products.”
Ecke Guatemala is in its 14th year of operation, and has won numerous awards for quality, productivity and sound management practices. President Andy Higgins said, “We have developed this wholly-owned company to be an integral part of our success. Our team has done an outstanding job planning and executing quality, high volume production. This expansion further complements our core competencies in production and support of our grower customers.”
Ecke believes that further industry concentration necessitates the need for larger, fully integrated offshore facilities capable of servicing the needs of large growers. “Smaller, non-integrated offshore producers may have a tough time competing in the future as the bar is constantly being raised by the supply chain,” Higgins said.
Owner and CEO Paul Ecke III is “excited to be back in expansion mode, and is confident that this space will be put to good use in the summer 2011 shipping season.” Ecke also noted he is pleased that this generation of greenhouses will be of a new, all-metal design from Crider Americas, known for manufacturing greenhouse structures that address the climatic needs of growers. Additionally, half of all poinsettia ranges in Guatemala will recovered with new plastic to raise light levels which will help increase overall quality.
Ecke Ranch has more than 5.4 million square feet of company owned and contracted greenhouse space offshore, and is ranked No. 5 in the Greenhouse Grower Top 100 Growers list for 2010.