Our Story

about us

Here at Westlake Produce, we pride ourselves on having the best staff in the industry. Our sales and accounting teams are dedicated to the needs of our customers, shippers, and service providers. Having over 300 years of sales experience on staff, we strive to be a great source of information to our partners in the industry. We have the expertise to develop the next generation of successful members of our trade. When it comes to product availability, seasonal programs or just plain commodity information, our team is ready to assist you in accomplishing your sales goals.

Brooks and Sims Produce Distributors Est. 1962

Founded in 1962 by Joe Sims and Bill Brooks, Sr. as distributors of potatoes, onions, and melons, Brooks & Sims was originally located in the L.A. Terminal Produce Building above the Seventh Street Market. Joe and Bill Sr. brought their sons into the business in the 1970s, and by 1982, Bill Brooks Jr. was part of the management/ownership team. The company eventually expanded with offices in both Los Angles and Newport Beach. Throughout its nearly 40 years in existence, Brooks & Sims evolved and adapted to overcome numerous challenges that confront most produce companies: extreme weather conditions, economic boom/bust, customer consolidation, commodity embargos, and key personnel changes. At the close of the 1990s, the consolidation that had swept through the produce industry at the retail level prompted Brooks & Sims to seek out and consummate a merger of their operations with Westlake Miller in 2001 in order to broaden their commodity offerings to a contracting customer base. Paying homage to their collective traditions, the new company originally operated under the name Westlake-Miller / Brooks & Sims. Over time, the desire to shorten the name won out and Westlake Produce Company was born.

Ed Miller Company Est. 1964

Westlake-Miller founded in 1964 by Ed Miller Sr. as distributors of citrus from all growing. The company was originally located in downtown Los Angeles across from the wholesale markets. Over the years, the firm grew, and moved to a bigger location as Ed brought his three sons into the business. A defining time in the company’s 30 years of operation was a six year period in the 1980s when it survived three Florida freezes. That led the firm to diversify into Texas citrus and other non-citrus commodities. Ed Miller Co. was also one of the first U.S. firms to export Florida grapefruit to Japan in the late 70’s. In 1997, Jeff Miller acquired the company from his father and he and his brothers, Steve and Ed Jr., merged its operations with Westlake Distributors in order to diversify and solidify their long-term position within the Southern California produce marketplace. 

Westlake Distributors est. 1977

Founded in 1977 by Harvey Sherman and Ernie Colton, Westlake Distributors, Inc. thrived in the Los Angeles marketplace selling melons, citrus, grapes, and vegetables to a growing retail customer base. In the early 1990s, Dale Liefer assumed majority ownership and helped cement the firm’s position in the Southern California landscape. Soon the company added field inspection and logistics support, and sought out strategic business combinations to strengthen relationships with their industry partners, including both their customers and their suppliers.



We commit to come into work every day and Lead by Example. We will do our very best to Communicate thoroughly and professionally. We will Listen to our fellow co-workers, customers, growers and service providers, Process what they are trying to communicate to us and make an asserted effort to Act on what their needs are. We will Embrace Change and Follow Through with whatever is asked of us and what we commit ourselves to, while always attempting to Exceed Expectations. We will Stay True to Who We Are because the contribution of our specific abilities is needed for the success of our company. We will Treat Our Industry as Family, knowing that it takes all of us to achieve our common goals. We will always keep in mind that we work for a great company and we will Keep an Attitude of Gratitude. We will keep this pledge always, while representing Westlake and Have Fun while we do it.

Names can be deceiving, which is the case with the prickly pear. Although it is prickly, it is not a pear!  These neon fruits are native to Mexico, but you’ll see them growing wild all over California and Arizona.  They are a kitchen staple in most Latin American households but not so much in American kitchens.  However, they are gaining notoriety in the US due to their superfood status.  They’re one of the most nutrient-packed fruits, high in vitamin C, calcium, antioxidants, and dietary fiber. 


They are definitely a fruit I used to look at sideways in the produce section, but one look at the inside, and I knew I had to get over it and just buy the darn fruit.  Cactus pears come in various colors, from bright lime green to vibrant yellow, orange, and beet red. Just know the colors are a natural variation and do not indicate maturity.  


When shopping, the prickly pear can also be known as cactus pear (which is a way better name), and in Spanish, they are called tunas.  The fruit grows on the rounded edges of cactus paddles and has a thick skin covered in small spines called glochids.  These tiny hair-like spines are a real prickly sort of thorn.  They resemble little eyelashes and look soft to the touch. They detach easily and lodge in your skin with the slightest brush. 


Most commercially sold cactus pears will have already been cleaned but still handle with lots of care.  The easiest method for removing the microscopic spines is to burn them off.  Hold the fruit over a gas stove or grill flame, and rotate over the open flame using tongs.  Since the spines are so small, they are quickly sizzled off!  Still, use gloves when handling the fruit.  It is almost impossible to remove every last one!  


Once cleaned, cut the fruit at both ends, make a few vertical slices, and peel away the skin.  The pulpy flesh is now ready to eat or be used for a variety of dishes and drinks!  The flesh is filled with completely edible seeds, a bit like the crunch of a pomegranate seed.  Raw cactus pear is tastiest when it's cold, so store yours in the fridge even before peeling and slicing. The raw fruit can be pureed and strained and used as juice: a popular ingredient with bartenders. It is also commonly cooked and reduced with sugar to make a syrup that’s used in cocktails, sauces and drizzled over shaved ice. 


Check out this fun recipe for using cactus pear…it’s great if you’re new to using cactus pear!




Cara Caras was first discovered in 1976 in Venezuela.  It results from a cross mutation of an original navel orange and a Brazilian Bahia navel orange.  However, they didn’t make it to the US until the 1980s, and they were only sold in select specialty markets.  It wasn’t until the last ten years or so that we started seeing more and more of them in the large chain stores..and with good reason!


A Cara Cara is truly just as beautiful on the inside as the outside.  They have the same round shape as an original navel and the same bright color, but what really sets them apart is on the inside.  They have that distinctive ruby red color, similar to a grapefruit but with a sweet berry flavor.  Compared to navels, Cara Cara’s are sweeter and less acidic.  Top that off with even more vitamin C than a traditional navel, and you’ve got a real winner! They are also quite the trending fruit on social media.  


Another show stopper is the Blood orange.  Despite their gruesome name, they are a sweet and lovely piece of citrus.  Blood oranges originated in Sicily and were reserved for royalty in the 9th and 10th centuries because of their rich color and flavor.  They finally made their way to US markets in 1908 by Frank Meyer.  


Blood oranges are similar to a navel from the outside but sometimes has streaks or marking of red coloring on their skin.  Break it open, and you’ll find an exquisite deep red-colored fruit and juice.  The red color is the result of anthocyanin.  Anthocyanin is the pigment that gives the red color to blood oranges.  It develops when the oranges ripen in warmer daytime temperatures and cooler nights, a Mediterranean climate, so to speak.  The color first starts to appear along the edges of the peel and then follows the edges of the segment before coloring the flesh.  When and where they grew determines whether blood oranges are lined, streaked with red, or fully blood-colored.  


Blood oranges, Cara Caras, and of course, Washington navels grow perfectly in our California climate, as is proven by Eliza Tibbet.  In fact, one of the original California navel trees is still standing today in Riverside, California.  It is on the corner of Magnolia and Arlington avenues and is a living tribute to one of US history’s most significant agricultural finds. If you’re ever in the area, you should definitely stop by and check it out.  Before you get any ideas of stealing a piece of fruit, think again, an iron fence protects it.  Besides, I’m pretty sure you know where to get some navels without stealing (ahem…Westlake).