The first auctioning of the former Florida farmland and tomato assets of the defunct East Coast Brokers and Packers Inc., has sold.

On Aug. 15, nine high bidders paid $48.7 million for the assets of the Mulberry, Fla.-based East Coast, which stopped operations last fall and then filed for bankruptcy protection in March.

First auction of East Coast Brokers’ assets yields $48 millionOnce one of Florida’s largest tomato grower-shippers, the Mulberry, Fla.-based East Coast was once one of Florida’s largest tomato grower-shippers before it stopped operations last fall and then filed for bankruptcy protection on March 6.

Through three more scheduled auctions, auctioneers plan to sell East Coast’s three packinghouses, two cold storage facilities, farming equipment and land as well as a motel, homes and luxury condominiums in Florida and Virginia.

A large crowd filled the auction room in Lakeland, Fla., according to a news release from Murray Wise Associates, which is handling the sales.

“We had a fantastic crowd and more than two hours of very active bidding, and we're very pleased with the results,” Ken Nofziger, Murray Wise Associates’ president, stated in the release.

The second auction is scheduled for Aug. 16 and involves the motel and Florida residential real estate.

On Aug. 19 and Aug. 20, auctions are scheduled to sell 3,228 acres of farmland, produce packing houses, worker camps and other real estate.