Coggins Farm starts its own sales arm
Coggins Farm and Produce Inc., Lake Park, Ga., which has long been the biggest grower-shipper for sales agent Marker 29 Produce Inc., Onancock, Va., has ended its sales agreement with Marker 29 and has started its own sales agency.
In February, two former Marker 29 salesmen helped form a new sales organization for Coggins Farm.
Harry Sheaffer and Steve Sterling, who used to sell vegetables grown by Coggins, along with Coggins’ principals, started Blackwater Produce LLC, Lake Park.
Sheaffer said Blackwater, a separate company that sells bell peppers, cucumbers, squash and carrots that Marker 29 marketed, makes for a new start and a reorganization of Coggins’ sales.
“The vegetable deal has been kind of tough on the growing end during the last couple of years,” Sheaffer said. “This is a way to save some money and try to keep up to date with everything, especially the food safety issues. The start of this organization is a way to have everyone on the same team and make sure we are all looking out for each other and communicating better.”
Blackwater plans to market under its Blackwater label.
Coggins is Blackwater’s primary grower, though the operation also plans to sell for some new growers.
Georgia Vegetable expands Tennessee deal
Georgia Vegetable Co. Inc., Tifton, is expanding its Tennessee operations.
Last fall, the grower-shipper began handling sales for growers of cucumbers and crookneck squash from Cleveland, Tenn., and growers of snap beans from Crossville, Tenn.
This spring, Georgia Vegetable is working with a Tennessee grower who produces green beans, bell peppers, eggplant and specialty peppers, said Shay Kennedy, co-owner, vice president and sales manager.
The deal has Georgia Vegetable handling sales for the growers who have their own packing facilities, she said.
“This expansion is good for us in that once we start in Georgia, we will be able to continue shipping through the summer months out of Tennessee,” she said.
Typically, Tennessee starts shipping vegetables in July after Georgia production ends. Production normally ends in early September, before Georgia’s fall deals begin in late September.
Georgia Vegetable has also started shipping sweet corn from south Georgia.
J&S recovers from packinghouse fire
J&S Produce Inc. has moved back into a packinghouse that fire destroyed in June 2009.
In February, Mount Vernon, Ga.-based J&S moved into the operation that caught fire after a worker accidentally ignited some pallets, causing $900,000 in losses to the company’s offices and packing facilities.