S. M. Jones & Co. Inc., a south Florida sweet corn packinghouse and marketer, enters the 2012 spring season with a new partner, a new chief operating officer and new cooling machinery.

Willard, Ohio-based Wiers Farm Inc.-Dutch Maid is now a partner in the Belle Glade, Fla.-based grower-owned operation. Wiers Farm officially closed the deal in December and joins partners Flavor 1st, Hendersonville, N.C., Tommy Holt, owner of Twin H Farms, Belle Glade, and John Alger, vice president and operating manager of Alger Farms Inc., Homestead, Fla.

A third hydrocooler should provide the grower-shipper additional packing capacity, said Ted Wanless, chief operating officer.

S.M. Jones expects to finish cooler installation in late March, in time for the start of south Florida’s corn season Wanless said.

S.M. Jones expands cooling, adds new partnerWanless is the former regional sales manager for Oviedo, Fla.-based Duda Farm Fresh Foods Inc.’s Belle Glade operation. He joined Niles, Mich.-based Great Lakes Produce & Marketing LLC, in 2008.

Dean Wiers, Wiers’ Farm sales manager, said the partnership gives the longtime Midwestern vegetable and lettuce grower-shipper its first Florida corn deal.

“This allows us to service our customers with corn on a 12-month program,” Wiers said. “Joining them brings together four like-minded companies that share a similar vision and goals.”

Joining S.M. Jones in mid-November, Wanless said he feels great about returning to the Florida corn deal.

“I always enjoyed the volume and the retail excitement that corn brings,” he said. “It’s always been a fun commodity.”