Students at Fresno State are busy processing citrus using a new $600,000 packing line formally dedicated Wednesday.
Fowler-based Bee Sweet Citrus, with the help of several other Central Valley businesses, gifted the university with the packing line, which is painted Fresno State red and blue.
Bee Sweet Citrus founder and President Jim Marderosian said he initially wanted to make a donation to the Jordan College of Agriculture Sciences and Technology for giving him six interns to work with his company. The department instead believed a packing line would better serve the students. The Bee Sweet Fresh Fruit Packing Line was custom-built inside the Bee Sweet Citrus Laboratory in the Grosse Industrial Technology Building. The line is also used to teach a “Fundamentals of Citrus Processing Line” course in the spring semester.
Industrial Technology Department chairman Athanasios Alexandrou said the packing line is a “transformational gift” to the university and to the students, who quickly moved to pack fruit in front of guests Wednesday. Alexandrou said the fruit will be sold at the Gibson Family Market on campus and will also be donated to the Fresno State Student Cupboard, where students shop for free groceries. The packing line will use citrus fruit grown on Fresno State’s 1,000-acre farm.