A. Gurda Produce improves facilities

A. Gurda Produce Co. Inc., Pine Island, N.Y., added a packing line to improve efficiency.

The new line is for onions and potatoes and was completed at the end of last year for use this season.

The company also added a new computer system to improve product traceability.

“It’s more controlled and more modernized so we’re set up to do a proper job,” Andrew Gurda, owner, said.

The system updates every minute with all shipments going in and out, including information such as who is packaging the orders, Gurda said.

Bland Farms switches to sweet onions

Bland Farms Inc., Glennville, Ga., has changed its onion production to focus entirely on sweet onions.

The company now has about 400 acres of sweet onions in New York, owner Delbert Bland said.

He said the sweet onion crop looked good in early July.

“Last year, we did about 25% of what we’ll do this year,” Bland said.

The company also added recipes to the back of its high-graphic labels on onion bags. There are a combination of several recipes that will be printed every season, Bland said, and they will be ready for harvest in July.

Eden Valley buys truck, tries new varieties

Eden Valley Growers Inc., Eden, N.Y., planted some later varieties of green peppers and lettuce to extend the season.

“We won’t know how this will turn out until later, but the last few years, the fall has been warmer, so we’ll see how it works. If the weather cooperates, it should be good,” said Dave Walczak, sales and operations manager.

The coalition of 10 farms also purchased a 2013 Peterbilt truck in February to replace an older one.

“We try to update some every year depending on the how the season goes,” Walczak said.

Hansen Farms preps for GlobalGAP audit

Hansen Farms LLC, Stanley, N.Y., plans to achieve GlobalGAP certification.

An audit for the food safety initiative is scheduled for July.

Eric Hansen, vice president, says there are a lot of different certification options available, but that the company usually chooses the system that tends to be more farm-focused than factory-focused.

J. Piedimonte Farms grows Tasti-Lee tomato

J. Piedimonte Farms, Holley, N.Y., is set to grow more than 50 acres of the Tasti-Lee tomato this year.

The large hybrid beefsteak variety, which boasts a rich, dark color and a mix of sugar and acid, was developed by Jay Scott, originally from Scottsville, N.Y., at the University of Florida.

Tony Piedimonte, president, said he’s proud and excited to bring the tomato to N.Y., especially because developer Scott is originally from the area.

“I think it’s fantastic,” he said. “This tomato has it all, plus flavor. We’re looking for a big deal.”

Piedimonte reports that they are set to be the primary provider of the Tasti-Lee for western New York and that the tomato should appear in supermarkets soon in 12- and 16-ounce packages, according to a news release.

Turek tests varieties of non-GMO corn

Turek Farms, King Ferry, N.Y., has planted new, higher-seeding varieties this year, partner Jason Turek said.

“These are new to the industry and we’re excited about these new varieties,” Turek said.

Turek said the varieties have high yields and that the company has stayed away from genetically modified sweet corn.

“A lot of growers have chosen to grow it, but it’s just not what our customers are asking for so we can’t justify the price of that,” Turek said.

Williams Farms adds cold storage space

Williams Farms LLC, Marion, N.Y., is putting in cold storage for 100,000 cwt. of potatoes.

The company is also adding a new wash line, said John Williams, partner.

“We’ve never had refrigeration for potatoes before, so this is a major thing for us,” he said.

The project is expected to be completed before harvest begins around Labor Day.