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Garrison Cold Storage, situated eight miles from the port of Long Beach, CA, fired up its new refrigerated storage facility Jan. 18.

"We're mainly designed to handle fresh produce," General Manager Steve Karo told The Produce News Jan. 22, adding that the business handles both domestic and imported product.

According to Mr. Karo, the 46,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility includes nine receiving doors and seven separate self-contained refrigerated rooms capable of handling a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Optimum temperatures are set in each room to ensure product quality. A structural steel racking system is in use in each of the rooms.

"We have no cross contamination," Mr. Karo went on to say. Each room contains an Airocide unit, which removes contaminants such as bacteria from the air. "We are one of the few cold storages using this technology," he added. In addition to storage of commodities such as avocados, apples, blueberries, cherries, pears, stone fruit, grapes and mangos, use of the Airocide unit enables the company to store kiwi and pineapple.

The facility is certified by Quality Assurance International to receive organic product. "We have the ability to isolate organics," Mr. Karo noted. The customer is paramount with the company, according to Mr. Karo, who said, "Garrison is a cold storage company that never says 'no' to its customers. We're open when our customers need us."

A staff of 10 people with extensive backgrounds in the produce industry works with repacking personnel hired on an as-needed basis to fill customer orders. "No overtime is charged to our customers," Mr. Karo said of the operation.

A host of services is available. Garrison Cold Storage works with its partners to move product from the port of Long Beach to its facility, and inspectors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture are able to clear imports there. Repacking services are also offered on site, and the company can arrange for logistics services for its customers to get products to their final destinations. "We are really proud of the facility and look forward to showing it off," said Mr. Karo, who said that he welcomes all who wish to tour the facility.