Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Brooks Tropicals rebounds from Hurricane Dean

Excerpts from The Packer article of 4/28/08
by Jim Offner

Homestead, Fla.-based Brooks Tropicals says improvements were just about completed at the end of March at its Belize papaya operations, sidetracked only temporarily after a late-summer hurricane left some damage.

Brooks already had been building a new headquarters papaya production facility in Belize when Hurricane Dean blew through the region, said Mary Ostlund, marketing director.

"We've set up new food-safety levels, new processing facilities, replanted trees," Ostlund said.

The company installed a custom-built papaya packing machine at the facility, that will enable Brooks to triple its previous volume, Ostlund said.

The hurricane left minimal damage on the existing buildings, she said.

"We had more than 1,200 employees there before the storm and we're building back up to that."

The new 12,000 square-foot building has office space, break rooms, maintenance space, garages and fertilizer rooms, Ostlund said.