B&K Farms expands Florida operations
B&K Farms LLC, Rhodesdale, Md., is building a packing facility near Arcadia, Fla., to handle vegetables.

Kay Harding, vice president, said the watermelon grower-shipper plans to grow squash, bell peppers, cabbage and consider other items during the fall, winter and spring.

B&K grows watermelon from Arcadia in late April to mid-June, as well as in South Carolina and Maryland.

Blueberry co-op attracts retail veteran
Rod Bangert, who for 38 years worked for Giant Food LLC, Landover, Md., has joined the Carolina Blueberry Cooperative Association Inc., Garland, N.C., where he is general manager.

Bangert started in the position in late March after retiring from the supermarket chain in early March.

Coastal Growers adds
watermelon washers

Coastal Growers LLC, Salisbury, Md., during early May installed washing systems in its Salisbury and Laurel, Del., watermelon packing facilities.

The system provides chlorinated wash to the watermelons after unloading onto the packing line and isn’t a process that many other packers have, said Will Hales, a Coastal partner.

He said Coastal wants its customers to see how its growers are willing to invest in food safety procedures.

Coastal also plans to implement traceability through the Redwood City, Calif.-based YottaMark’s HarvestMark system, which affixes stickers on individual watermelons.

Coastal also plans to revamp its Web site.

Dublin Farms plans food safety improvements
Dublin Farms Inc., Horntown, Va., plans to achieve Good Agricultural Practices certification.

The certification will also provide it with traceability, said David Hickman, vice president.

Hickman said the potato grower-shipper has invested in many physical improvements, which will help it achieve certification.

Additionally, Dublin Farms has erected a new building to store the operation’s empty bags and packing materials.

Hickman said Dublin Farms constructed the building to comply with food safety rules, which require separate facilities for storage of empty packages.

Dublin Farms has also built a break room and has added more employee hand washing sinks.
Northampton adds Delaware deal
Northampton Growers Produce Sales Inc., Cheriton, Va., is expanding production to Delaware.

The grower-shipper this season plans to begin a small deal in sweet corn and bell pepper near Berlin, Del.

Northampton plans to harvest corn and bell peppers July 1 through the end of August, said Calvert Cullen, president.
By Eastern Editor Doug Ohlemeier