Florida Fall Produce business updates

11/11/2013 03:50:00 PM
Doug Ohlemeier

Doug OhlemeierRobby Hendry,was recently hired as salesman with Grow Farms, Louisville, Ky. Hendry heads the Wellington, Fla., office.Grow Farms opens West Palm Beach area office

Grow Farms has opened a south Florida office and hired an experienced Florida produce salesman.

The Louisville, Ky.-based grower-shipper of tomatoes, vegetables and onions hired Robby Hendry, who heads the Wellington, Fla., office.

Hendry has worked 13 years in the industry, including 12 years in quality control and sales for Pero and in sales for Spring Creek LLC in Greenfield, Tenn.

“We plan to work with a lot of growers in the Southeast,” Hendry said. “The new office will bring us more chain store and foodservice business.”

Grow Farms also hired salesman Chris Spataro, who formerly worked in the construction business.

Hendry started Sept. 9.

Hugh H. Branch adds kale

Hugh H. Branch Inc., is adding kale to its portfolio.

The South Bay, Fla.-based grower’s agent, handler and shipper of sweet corn, green beans and leaf lettuce has added kale to its green and red leaf lettuces, romaine, boston lettuce, escarole, curly and plain parsley and cilantro.

Customer demand prompted the addition, said Dan Shiver, co-owner.

Branch plans to begin selling kale in mid-November, the same time it starts its other leaf lettuces, Shiver said.

The company’s growers increased their acreage a little on all the leaf lettuce items except escarole, he said.

Staff changes at Five Bros.

In May, Donny Dulevich, who previously worked in quality control for Homestead, Fla.-based Five Bros. Produce Inc., returned to work in sales.

Dulevich takes over sales duties for Fred Moore, who retired.

Thomas Torbert, the son of company owner and president Tommy Torbert Jr., works sales previously handled by Wayne Mertens, who left for other opportunities, Dulevich said.

Tommy Torbert Jr., is now the company’s sole owner. He previously shared ownership with some growers that use to farm Five Bros., Dulevich said.

Five Bros. grows and ships green beans and zucchini, yellow crookneck and yellow straightneck squash.

J&J Family of Farms ups acreage

Loxahatchee, Fla.-based J&J Family of Farms Inc., has increased its Florida acreage 30%, said Brian Rayfield, vice president of business development and marketing.

The grower-shipper increased plantings on its bell peppers, cucumbers, squash, eggplant and cherries, grapes and vine ripe tomatoes, he said.

“We are excited about leasing additional farmland and increasing our acreage on about a third of our warm East Coast land,” Rayfield said. “Our business is growing and our rebranding will make us more consumer-friendly.”

In late October, J&J changed its name from J&J Produce Inc.

Scotlynn expands vegetable offerings

South Bay, Fla.-based Scotlynn Sweet Pac Growers LLC is expanding into bell peppers, squash, eggplant, cabbage and okra.

J.D. Poole, a partner, said the company always has had a customer base interested in those items, and now it’s growers want to grow those commodities.

Scotlynn is increasing its acreage on all its items by 20%, Poole said.

Longtime corn sales veterans Poole and Bryan Biederman started the company in November 2012 as a partnership with Scotlynn Investments in Vittoria, Ontario.



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