Magalas Produce adds packing space

With almost double the amount of packing and cooler space, Magalas Produce Ltd. is in an expansion mode for the 2012 season.

Husband-and-wife co-owners Martin and Cheryl Magalas, who are sales manager and warehouse manager respectively for the Waterford, Ontario, operation, are already seeing improved efficiency in operations. Cheryl Magalas said the additional space has enabled staff to better organize work areas and packing flow.

The company added 15,000 square feet to the grading area of the packing facility. That brings its total packing space to 27,000 square feet, about half the size of a U.S. football field.

In the Magalas cooler, this season the company has 15,000 square feet of space, compared to 8,700 square feet before the expansion.

The company has increased volumes and tomato packing lines, Cheryl Magalas said.

Industry leaders assume new duties

Brenda Lammens, former chairwoman of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association, has been elected to lead the Ontario Agricultural Commodity Council board.

Lammens will serve as chairwoman of the commodity council board of directors until April 2013.

She replaces Mark Wales at the commodity council. Wales stepped down from the council board chairman’s position when he became president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.

Growers’ group adds economic analyst

The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association recently hired Daryl Vermey as an economic analyst.

Vermey was previously a program coordinator with the Agricultural Adaptation Program.

At the growers’ association in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Vermey will develop economic and farm financial policy options, according to a news release. He also will conduct research on economic, social and environmental trends that affect growers.

Vermey’s duties for the association also are expected to include work regarding government programs and policies that affect edible horticulture, the release said.

Scotlynn hires sales, operations director

Joe Didiano recently joined Scotlynn Investments, Vittoria, Ontario, as director of sales and operations.

Didiano has more than 15 years of experience in the retail industry. He said his history includes everything from quality assurance to procurement. He also has experience in category management.

At Scotlynn, Didiano will focus on produce and customer development.

The company specializes in sweet corn, watermelon, pumpkins and ginseng.

Grower sells Tunnel Tech business

Bill Nightingale recently sold his agriculture tunnel business, Tunnel Tech, to Tillsonburg Tube Inc.

Nightingale and his son Bill Nightingale Jr. operate Nightingale Farms, LaSalette, Ontario.

Keith Prince, owner of Tillsonburg Tube, Tillsonburg, Ontario, said in a news release that the addition of Tunnel Tech is in line with his plan to diversify while maintaining a focus on green business. He said the tunnels help growers extend seasons and improve quality and yield.

Tunnel Tech provides turnkey services, beginning with planning and site measurements and continuing through installation, venting and tunnel management services. Tunnels are customized for each installation to accommodate winds, microclimates, soil types and crops.

Welsh Bros. Farm expands cooling space

For the past two years Welsh Bros. Farm, Scotland, Ontario, has been in an aggressive capital improvement mode, increasing cool capacity.

Charles Welsh, a partner in the growing operation, said they have doubled their cooling space and quadrupled their cooling capacity because it takes less time to cool the produce.

With the improved cooling capacity the Welsh operation only needs about half an hour to cool produce to 34 degrees. Welsh said that means the produce they handle can be at the optimum temperature within an hour of being picked.

Wilmot Orchards staff bikes for cancer study

For five years employees from Wilmot Orchards have been riding to raise money for cancer research. They have raised more than $35,000.

This year the Newcastle, Ontario-based orchard is continuing the tradition with a team entered in the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer. The two-day event covers a 200-kilometer route. Each rider must raise $2,500 to participate.

Wilmot Orchard employees scheduled to make the ride are Charles Stevens, Robbie Montgomery and Jeremy Calhoun. All proceeds go to the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation, Toronto.