Entering into the Vidalia onion deal in a larger way, Curry & Co. has bought Gerrald's Vidalia Sweet Onion Inc.’s packing facility.
Brooks, Ore.-based Curry purchased the Statesboro, Ga.-based packing facility from Terry Gerrald, president, and Jamie Brannen, sales manager.
While Gerrald and Brannen leave the packing side of the business, Matt Curry, Curry’s president, plans to keep them on to manage Curry’s new Georgia farming operations which the Gerrald’s principals had been growing primarily on leased land, Brannen said.
Brannen said Curry plans to add sales people in the Georgia offices and enlarge his Vidalia operations.
“It has gotten to the point to where we have to expand to be competitive,” Brannen said. “Terry and I weren’t in a position to hire a sales force. What Terry and I do is farm and pack. The produce business has gotten to be a more serious business and takes a lot more management. This allows us to quit sitting behind the desk and be on the telephones all the time so we can go back to the fields and do what we like to do.”
Curry plans to use the modern 200,000-square-foot facility that was built in 2005 for product consolidation, Curry said in a news release.
He said the operation, which has Primus, Davis Fresh, Silliker and Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point certifications, should provide Curry a versatile location centrally located on the East Coast.
“When they built this facility they did it right,” Curry said in the release. “We have the latest technology in drying rooms, 100% consumer packaging capabilities, high graphic bags, efficient loading docks and a stellar record on food safety. It’s a great opportunity for Curry & Co. Plus, the quality of the onions we’ll be packing is outstanding, as we’re partners with two of the leading Vidalia growers.”
Since 2007, Gerrald’s has handled and repacked Curry’s East Coast Chilean and Peruvian sweet onions that are imported through Savannah, Ga., and Curry since 2008 has also marketed more of Gerrald’s Vidalias.
Curry, a year-round supplier of sweet onions, storage onions, potatoes and blueberries, joins Gerrald’s, which grows and ships Vidalias as well as carrots and watermelons.
Brannen said Curry plans to sell the carrots and continue packing under the Gerrald’s label as well has his other Curry and Vidalia Sweetheart labels
In a typical season, Gerrald’s has packed 500,000 40-pound cartons of Vidalia onions, 500,000 equivalent packages of carrots and 300 loads of watermelon.
Gerrald, who won the 2009 Vidalia Grower of the Year award, began commercially growing Vidalias in 1985 after he had been growing cantaloupe and watermelon.