In the late 1980s, a small group of Mexicans moved to the west coast of America and began working as farmers and production facility workers in the valley. They quickly learned the trade of crop production and it wasn’t long before they had a small field of their own to produce their own crops.
As a ten year old boy, Jose Ornelas, now the owner of Jayleaf, rapidly learned the tricks of the trade. He grew up in the business and knows the industry by heart. By building a nice and respectful workplace, the close community of Jayleaf was founded. The grass root beginnings remain an essential element of the Jayleaf culture today. “We do not hold back on going the extra mile. The hard working mentality, from top to bottom, is ever-present,” says Henry Catalán, Chief Operations Officer at Jayleaf.
Today, Jayleaf produces and processes around 5,000,000 lbs (2,268,000 kg) of spring mix, spinach, arugula, kale, endive and radicchio a year.
“We are a family-owned company, big enough to meet large scale demand, yet agile enough to swiftly respond and tailor our products to our customer’s smallest detailed requests,” says Henry Catalán.
OPTIMAL WASTE MANAGEMENT
Jayleaf takes the environment into account and highly values sustainability and optimal waste management. For example, their plant in Hollister is one hundred percent solar powered and Jayleaf has been recognized as the first solar powered leafy green processor in the region and is Monterey Bay Green Business certified. “This is the first step Jayleaf has taken in protecting our main supplier - Mother Earth,” says Catalán.
“We sell to customers nationwide with our focus on California. Our customers network consist of various sized wholesale fruit and vegetable distributors throughout the country who distribute to a vast array of food service companies and organizations.”
FOOD SAFETY AT ALL TIMES
In the past, Jayleaf manually sorted produce but in light of stringent food safety regulations, product quality needs and time management constraints, the installation of a sorting machine became a necessity. “There is a limit to what a human can do in regards to sorting product by hand at the rate of our production line,” says Catalán. “Manual sorting was time-consuming and, while our employees would do their absolute best, some defects are invisible to the human eye and therefore the sort was not one hundred percent effective.”
“With growing organic salad mixes and greens, the chance of defects such as insects, dry leaves, and foreign material such as packaging material entering the production line is higher. That’s why high-end food sorting equipment is necessary. It guarantees food safety for our customers in regards to physical contamination,” says Catalán.
“As a family owned business we are no strangers to change and constantly have to be on top of the food business. Our selection process consisted of market research and regular visits to different food expos to see the latest and greatest innovations. TOMRA Sorting Solutions stood out enormously. We also had testimonials from several customers in our industry giving us options on how to optimize our product quality and safety while recommending TOMRA.”
Despite the fact that it was a simple choice to make, Catalán remained doubtful. He always thought that his facility was too small regarding budget and space to invest in such a state-of-the-art sorting machine.
CUSTOMIZED SORTING MACHINE
“Given our smaller size, fabricating equipment has its limits, but with the help of TOMRA engineers we were able to design our layout and new equipment down to the last inch. This allowed us to plan, design and execute this change in our production line with minimal loss of time. TOMRA’s Nimbus 640 sorting machine with AFMD technology was in place and processing with a downtime of just two days. This was extremely valuable,” says Catalán.
The Nimbus now sorts up to eleven hours a day, six days a week. The Advanced Foreign Material Detector™ (AFMD) module is specifically designed for the detection of defects and foreign materials that are difficult to detect because of similar structure or color characteristics. “We use the Nimbus 640 AFMD to ensure our produce is free from foreign contaminants and quality defects which we want to keep out of our final packaged product.”
OPTIMAL FOOD QUALITY & SAFETY FOR OUR CUSTOMERS
“The results are very satisfying and false detections are kept to an absolute minimum, which guarantees increased profits and optimal food quality and safety for our customers.” Catalán quickly learned to operate the machine and is now able to tailor the sorting machine as he pleases. He can set and adjust the settings whenever he wants and can even make seasonal adaptations.
A SERVICE TECHNICIAN AT ANY HOUR OF THE DAY
“The post installation service is very good. It is easy to get a hold of a service technician at any hour of the day giving us the support we need to continue at full steam. Our hourly throughput is still the same rate, but with a higher quality product. In the past we were confronted with a large amount of defects entering the final product stage, such as yellowing, but since the implementation of the TOMRA sorter, complaints have dropped enormously. We are able to use product more efficiently and reduce losses because of TOMRA’s ability to filter more quality issues in a way we could never before. This is extremely important as our customers are able to benefit from better product availability without sacrificing on quality.”
“We have shown our customers that we are dedicated to continuously improving product safety and quality by putting our investments where they matter. We are completely focused on quality, and growth will follow naturally as a result. TOMRA’s Nimbus sorting machine is a sophisticated piece of equipment introduced by a company with industry ‘know-how’. The price of being able to keep your product and the public’s health safe is priceless.”
“TOMRA gave us confidence and taught us not to be afraid to aim and achieve the same as the ‘big fish’ companies; we are now processing and sorting the same produce in the same way. We are confident that we are making the product as good as we can. TOMRA also gave us peace of mind in terms of protecting our brand. With TOMRA Sorting Solutions, your brand is protected.”