American Produce Solutions opens near Dallas

On Sept. 1, American Produce Solutions LLC, near Dallas, plans to launch as a produce distribution warehouse, cross-dock and repacking facility.

The new company will handle product for Nyssa, Ore.-based Golden West Produce LLC and GW Farms LLC, the growing segment of the business, and goods from other shippers, said Troy Seward, owner and president of Golden West and CEO for ProSource Inc., the marketing entity that supports Golden West.

Seward said the new operation will supply about 15 loads of refrigerated cold storage capacity, Seward said.

Principals of the new company include ProSource executives Troy Seward and Corey Griswold and foodservice industry veteran Tommy Huffhines.

“Tommy’s son, T. Huffhines, will lead sales and operations as president and chief operating officer, with Susie Lacy as vice president and Marty Markert as controller,” Seward said.

“APS will stock onions from Golden West Produce and have capability to rework or handle produce from other grower-shippers. We look forward to offering a unique blend of services and solutions from the farm and our other related entities,” Seward said.

In addition, ProSource added Brian Davis to its sales staff.

Other improvements also have added value.

“Golden West has performed a full software and hardware upgrade to our MAF computerized onion sizer, and we expect to see even further advancements in sizing consistency and tolerances with this investment,” Seward said.

Also, Vertical Logistics Inc., Meridian, Ind., the dedicated freight arm of the integrated businesses, added Eddie Zamora and Lauren Burke to the dispatch staff.


J.C. Watson upgrades packing facility

J.C. Watson Co., Parma, Idaho, has made improvements to its facility for the coming season.

“We upgraded and put in a new color sorter and dimensional sorter so we can do volume dimension and density sizing,” said Jon Watson, president.

The company still weighs bulbs, but Watson says the new equipment will help them go to the next level is sizing.

“It will help make things more uniform and add value to the segment,” he said.

New refrigerated storage will help extend the company’s shipping season.

Out of the farm, Watson said work is being done with bio fumigants and some irrigation updates.

The company also increased acreage this year.


Six growers purchase Murakami Produce

Murakami Produce LLC, Ontario, Ore., recently underwent a major shift in ownership.

On June 6, six growers purchased former owner David Murakami’s portion of the company after he retired Jan. 1.

The new owners are Klahr & Sons of Parma, Idaho; Scott Cruickshank of Ontario; Rick and Larry Kitamura of Kitamura Farms, Ontario; Ronny Koda of Koda Farms, Vale, Ore.; Ken Laubacher of Laubacher Farms Ontario; and Ron and Glenn Kuwahara of Kuwahara Farms, Vale.

“This will continue our guaranteed supply with additional expansion on the grower side,” said Chris Woo, sales manager for Murakami.

Murakami supplies onions for marketing agent Potandon Produce, Idaho Falls, Idaho.

Woo said about 70% of the company’s supply is yellow, 20% red and 10% white.


Owyhee Produce adds cold storage area

Owyhee Produce, Nyssa, Ore., completed an expansion in February, adding additional cold storage capacity to its facility.

“We can now store 7.5 million pounds,” said Shay Myers, general manager.

The additional space will help the company extend the season.

“It will give us close to a month more, probably 20 or 30 days,” Myers said.

This year, the company celebrates the 60th farming anniversary of business founders Owen and Colleen Froerer.

A dinner and community dance was Aug. 1 to commemorate the anniversary, with around 200 people in attendance for the dinner,” Myers said.


Snake River Produce adds acreage

Snake River Produce Inc., Nyssa, Ore., has increased acreage slightly for 2014, said Kay Riley, general manager.

“We’re up about 3-4%,” he said, which he said was in line with an areawide expansion.

“With commodity prices pretty high, it’s been a good few years for farming in general,” he said.


Interest rises for Wada Farms onion sleeve

Idaho Falls, Idaho-based Wada Farms Marketing Group LLC has seen increased interest for its medallion sleeve pack.

The package of four uniformly sized onions in a netted tube style of bag has been popular with consumers.

“It has really gained ground over the last two years,” said John Vlahandreas, onion sales manager.