Cheese facility aims to bolster Imperial County branding

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File photo: Silverdale Cheese President Sandra Tung

EL CENTRO — Silverdale Cheese is due to start production shortly, according to owner Sandy Tung, who addressed the Imperial County Board of Supervisors Tuesday, May 9.

After receiving a $490,000 County loan in February, Silverdale Cheese was able to move forward in reopening the old Imperial Valley Cheese facility west of El Centro.

Now the company, which will specialize in co-pack cutting and wrapping, is in place to begin production of two brands. The first will be the Silverdale brand, and the other a more generic brand.

“We should be in production probably next week,” confirmed Tung. “We already made cheese and made samples. We’ve sent them as far as Mexico and L.A.”

Silverdale’s market will also include Vietnam and Tijuana.

Tung also noted the facility could meet the specifications required by Blue Apron, a meal delivery service which ships over 8 million meals per month. As such, Blue Apron could be a sizeable market for Silverdale Cheese.

“The small pieces of cheese that they need is very lucrative; there’s not a lot of people who can do it,” shared Tung. “But we can do it with our equipment.”

The company aims to market its goods as Imperial Valley products. Every Silverdale label will include the phrase “Manufactured in Imperial County” and a portion of the products distributed will also feature a Valley-centric brand. Imperial County Board of Supervisors was asked for its opinion on what that brand name could be.

“We wanted something that was typical to Imperial Valley,” said Tung. “We chose Sunbeam Lake or Imperial County, as people use ‘Sonoma County’.”

The Board indicated its approval of Silverdale’s branding strategy, and suggested to tour the facility once production starts.

According to Tung, fifteen employees are currently working on site and have completed all the necessary training, including the OSHA trainings required for exports. Necessary permits and certificates for initial production have also been acquired.

“We achieved our health certificate two and half weeks ago,” said Tung. “So we are ready to go.”

The company’s approach to hiring, according to Tung, involved selecting candidates whose employment might benefit more than just themselves.

“We choose people that would make the biggest difference in Imperial County — men with children, women with children, that kind of thing — rather than single men who we thought might be very good, but we can’t make a big impact in the County like that.”

To show their appreciation, the employees of the facility sent a thank you card to the Board with personalized messages.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Desert Trek and John Q,

    I am the owner of the 9 year old business that moved into the cheese plant at 1870 Jeffery Road El Centro in March 2016.
    Thank you for your comments, it gives me the opportunity to explain a miscommunication on my part.

    All new hires are recruited via One Stop Work Force Development advertising. You are right, ours is a publically funded loan. You will understand then why the staff selection criteria is so important, we intend to set all staff up for success, training, ongoing investment in our staff. There can be no nepotism or leg ups involved, we simply selected what we thought were the best candidates we interviewed to help us achieve our goal of sustainable job creation.
    Staff are after all the greatest asset the company has. We must select the best staff we can to guarantee the success of the project and their jobs long into the future. There are many good people available to work in Imperial County, I wanted to avoid advertising in the news paper so thousands were hopeful of a job. I only have 50 in the whole project.

    After consulting with work force development it seemed the fairest way, to advertise and interview all who applied from their well established process.

    There is no discrimination or exclusion of anyone from our workforce, we have men women, single and married regardless, we believe we must insist on the taking in the best candidates from those we interviewed because being publically funded we have a greater responsibility to succeed so we can repay the funds.

    However, being a great one to investigate facts myself, please don’t just take my word for it, please call me I’m easy to find at the plant, Id gladly show you around so you can see for yourself the culture involved at the cheese plant.

    Best Regards
    Sandy Tung

  2. the witch discriminates against single males ….. she and her business should be shut down

  3. I appears, based on comments by the company’s representative, the hiring practices of this new business is discriminatory. California law is very clear. Being denied a equal opportunity of employment based on marital status is not only illegal, it is highly unethical. Due to the fact that public funds are being loaned to start up this new company, it would appear the Board of Supervisors is condoning their hiring practices.

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