The former Golden West warehouse, at 418 Commercial Ave., Nyssa, is not under renovation by a California firm as a new onion packing facility. (Rachel Parsons/The Enterprise).

NYSSA – Full steam ahead.

That is report from Emelio Castañeda, president of Field Fresh Foods last week regarding a new onion packing and shipping facility in the former Golden West building in south Nyssa.

“We are chomping at the bit to be shipping out of that location,” said Castañeda.

Field Fresh Foods, a Los Angeles company that is the nation’s largest supplier of fresh-packed fruits and vegetables for public schools, announced plans in July to open the Nyssa facility. The firm plans to hire up to 45 people when the facility is operating fulltime.

“We want to expand,” said Castañeda.

Castañeda said now a small group of company employees are at work renovating the inside of the building and Field Fresh Produce is searching for equipment for the facility.

“We are waiting to do the full build out,” said Castañeda.

That’s because, he said, the preliminary pieces of the project are “a process.”

“It isn’t automatic like you buy a car and you start driving. It’s a process as far as soliciting bids, aligning potential contractors and awarding bids. But we want to get the operation productive as soon as possible,” said Castañeda.

Castañeda said Field Fresh Foods already invested “a couple of millions of bucks” in the Nyssa facility.

“With any of these types of endeavors it is time consuming to go through the process,” he said.

The Field Fresh Foods plant in Nyssa will cut, pack and ship onions.

Initially, Castañeda hoped to ship onions by autumn. He said it might not be until the end of the year before the Nyssa facility is operating.

“I could see it going into the first quarter of next year,” he said.

In July, Castañeda said one of the main reasons his firm chose the Nyssa site was county’s business-friendly approach.

Castañeda said last week that focus on attracting firms is especially important as business in California continues to be “difficult.”

The fact that strong ties between local growers and Field Fresh Foods already exist is also a benefit.

“We already have multiple trucks running back and forth,” he said.

Castañeda said the Nyssa facility could expand in the future.

“As we grow and add infrastructure there is no reason it can’t be up there,” he said.

Field Fresh Foods began in Los Angeles in 1994 and employs 800 people in California.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at pat@malheurenterprise.com or 541-235-1003.

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