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Taylor Farms Focuses On Sustainability With Push To Make Food With Renewables

Taylor Farms, one of the biggest worldwide producers of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, is looking to make a change in their alternative energy process. Fossil fuels are used frequently in order to utilize farming equipment to reach the demand required for their customers. Their facility in Gonzales, California, will eliminate majority use of fossil fuels and will be powered from three different renewable sources.

The company’s goal is to offset their energy consumption by 90 percent through the use of wind, solar, and cogeneration systems. With the Gonzales’ production plant checking in at 192,000 square feet, the three sources should be able to achieve that percentile with 4.25 megawatts of energy. The official website believes that it can achieve 100 percent renewable energy at times, but the average will put the figure at the 90 percent goal.

Both wind and solar electricity generation started at Gonzales nearly three years ago. Wind turbines were installed back in November of 2014 while 3,578 rooftop solar panels were planted 11 months ago. Combined, they do two megawatts of energy themselves and generate 26 percent offset. A later report from Lora Kolodny of TechCrunch shows that solar energy ended up being more successful than planned. Taylor Farms’ CEO, Bruce Taylor, explains that they were “able to generate far more power from solar” and “now has more surplus to sell back to the grid.”

Still, it was a worthy investment to bring in a third unique source. Cogeneration, which is unfamiliar to many, figures into the rest of it. This uses a mixture of natural gas and wasted heat from electricity to generate a large 40-by-60 refrigerator. This annual consumption offset alone reaches 62 percent, which reaches the company’s planned goal.

Taylor Farms

Creating the switch to sustainability wasn’t easy. In the same report, Taylor Farms’ Director of Sustainability, Nicole Flewell, talked about how they needed to plan well ahead of time to avoid a lot of disruption.

“We are a 24-hour, 365-day business, so to tie these elements together, we had to shut down for 6 to 8 hours, and that was a substantial challenge. You can’t kill power for a substantial time where you have a refrigeration facility.”

No plans have been made to alter their other plants in the United States. They have two other plants in California with others located in states such as Arizona, Texas, Colorado, and several along the East Coast. Chicago is one of the bigger cities hosting a processing plant. There’s also one located across the border at San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Taylor Farms’ headquarters are located in Salinas, California, which holds another processing plant and is less than 20 miles away from Gonzales. The producer sells their products in a wide amount of grocery chains such as Walmart, Target, and Stop & Shop. They tout themselves as being “the leading producer of value-added produce and healthy fresh foods in North America.”

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