Bee Sweet Citrus Fresh Fruit Packing Line & Laboratory

  • Jordan College Dean Dr. Sandra Witte at Bee Sweet Citrus Fresh Fruit Packing Line and Laboratory dedication
  • Students box oranges from the unit's nine sorting bins
  • Jim & Tommy Marderosian stand next to the line's box sealing and conveyor system
  • Students box fruit next to President Castro at a press conference on the equipment's dedication day
  • Industrial Technology student Tomas Luna speaks at the dedication event next to the unit's fruit cleaning, waxing and drying equipment.
  • Students learn about the near-infared spectroscopy scanner that can analyze 12 pieces of citrus or stone fruit per second before it is graded & sorted based on quality, size & weight.
  • Bee Sweet Citrus Founder/President Jim Marderosian, Fresno State President Castro and seven other area vendors that contributed equipment & services showcase the new packing line.

On February 8, 2017, the Fresno State Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology celebrated the dedication of the Bee Sweet Citrus Fresh Fruit Packing Line and Laboratory, which was donated by one of the state's industry leaders in nearby Fowler.

Located in the Grosse Industrial Technology Building on campus, the state-of-the-art equipment can inspect, clean, wash, dry, sort, box, label and seal fruit harvested from the 1,000-acre campus farm.

The equipment, valued at $600,000, will provide industrial technology, food science and plant science students with hands-on instruction for mechanical systems and industrial maintenance as they apply to food processing and safety. It is also the centerpiece of the IT 191T “Fundamentals of Citrus Processing Line” class, taught by Dr. Athanasios Alexandrou, industrial technology department chairperson.

“The citrus industry continues to invest in new technologies, advanced automation, innovative research and modern infrastructure to compete in the world market,” said Jim Marderosian, Bee Sweet Citrus founder and president, and a 1979 Fresno State agricultural business graduate. “Bee Sweet Citrus is proud to invest in Fresno State and the Jordan College so their students are prepared to meet the challenges of the modern agricultural industry.”

Sections of the equipment will process up to 12 oranges, mandarins, grapefruit, lemons, nectarines, peaches or pomegranates per second  (click here for a flyer describing the process), and will utilize fruit that is grown on the 1,000-acre campus farm.

The packing line is composed of equipment from six specialized area equipment manufacturers: Aweta Americas, Decco U.S. Postharvest, Intelligrated, Mid Valley Packing and Supply, Valley Automation Solutions and Valley PackLine Solutions. J.M. Equipment Company also provided forklifts that were used in the construction process.