Van Solkema acquisition leads to expanded offerings, staff - The Packer

Van Solkema acquisition leads to expanded offerings, staff

06/14/2013 02:47:00 PM
David Mitchell

Van Solkema Produce is finding plenty of uses for its latest acquisition.

The Byron Center, Mich.-based company plans to start shipping Spanish onions from its Glennville, Ga., facility beginning in August.

Sales manager Talbert Nething said Van Solkema has entered into an agreement to package, market and ship 700 loads of Spanish onions.

Nething said the onions will be available in 50-pound bags as well as 2-, 3-, 5- and 10-pound consumer packs.

Van Solkema purchased the Four Corners Produce sacking shed in Glennville in November, expanding its existing offerings in Vidalia onions, carrots and cabbage.

“It is our intentions to utilize this new facility to capacity year-round,” Nething said.

“Our new carrot and Spanish onion programs will help accomplish this.”

Nething said the company is growing, packing and shipping more than 600 acres of carrots from the Georgia facility alone.

“As our carrot season neared its midpoint, we began our Vidalia onion season,” he said.

“This location allows us to pack fresh Vidalias (and) store onions in C/A storage all while packing carrots.”

Nething said Van Solkema, which upgraded the facility’s onion packing line this spring, also will pack and ship sweet onions from Peru from the facility.

The added volume and packing capacity also has led to new products, including individually bagged or wrapped cabbage and a full line of cello carrots, Nething said.

Nething himself is fairly new to the company, having joined Van Solkema in January after 10 years as general manager of Hearty Fresh, Byron Center.

Nething said Van Solkema’s recent personnel moves support its growth and acquisitions. In addition to Nething, Van Solkema has added Jon Shiver and Carmen Batrucci to its sales department.

Shiver, who started in October, previously worked for Parrish, Fla.-based Voyager Farms LLC.

“He has a vast background in southeastern vegetables,” Nething said.

Batrucci, who was hired in May, previously worked for Clifford Produce, Leamington, Ontario. Before that, he was a buyer for Sobeys, working more than three decades in retail.

“His vast retail knowledge will be greatly appreciated and utilized,” Nething said.



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