Michigan Produce business updates

06/06/2012 02:21:00 PM
Andy Nelson

Byron Center, Mich.-based Hearty Fresh has hired a new salesman/buyer to help handle rapid growth.

Dan Steenwyk was set to join Hearty Fresh on June 4 in a new salesman/buyer position, said Talbert Nething, the company’s general manager.

Steenwyk, whose family grows onion and celery in the Byron Center area, previously worked in sales in a non-produce industry.

The addition of Steenwyk was driven by recent company growth following the addition of two Eastern retailers to the company’s customer base, Nething said.

“We’ve been slammed,” he said. “We’ve been working seven days a week, and we added a second shift.”

The company also has added four new semis and trailers to handle increased demand, Nething said.

The recent growth has made space tight at the company’s 110,000-square-foot warehouse, Nething said. If the company expands in the future, it could be on or near the East Coast, rather than at its Byron Center headquarters, he said.

L&M Cos. opens Benton Harbor location

Raleigh, N.C.-based L&M Cos. Inc. has opened a new location on the Benton Harbor, Mich., market and will expand its Michigan vegetable offerings.

L&M is representing several Michigan growers this year, according to a company news release. L&M’s vegetable line specializes in peppers, cucumbers, squash, cabbage and eggplant.

“In addition to working with several wonderful growers this year, we are happy to have a place we can officially call home on the Benton Harbor Market,” said Greg Cardamone, general manager of L&M’s vegetable division. “The growers do a super job and people in the area are great.”

Michigan complements L&M’s own vegetable acreage in the Southeast.

Ben Kudwa to retire from potato group

After 26 years as executive director of the DeWitt-based Michigan Potato Industry Commission, Ben Kudwa will step down, likely after an interim period in which he will work part time and mentor his successor.

A search for Kudwa’s successor began March 17 and will conclude June 8, Kudwa said.

The commission will decide at a meeting in June whether to endorse Kudwa’s plan that he work part time for a year after his successor has been hired.

“It’s been viewed by a number of people as the way we should go,” he said of the plan.

Kudwa, who turns 65 in September, said it was the “right time” to step down.

“I’ve reached the age where a younger guy would be more effective,” he said.



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