Business updates: Ohio Vegetables - The Packer

Business updates: Ohio Vegetables

06/04/2010 11:20:55 AM
Andy Nelson

Buurma Farms adds sleeved lettuce, new technologies

Willard, Ohio-based Buurma Farms Inc. will begin shipping green leaf, red leaf, romaine and other varietal lettuces in sleeves this year, said Loren Buurma, co-owner.

The company has shipped celery in sleeves in the past, Buurma said, and added lettuce this year at the request of a customer.

The sleeves, which will ship 24 to a box, have many advantages, Buurma said.

A logo printed on sleeves can show customers the product was locally grown, he said. A scan-able PLU makes the product easier for grocery store clerks to ring up without making errors, and product will be more traceable, with G-10 numbers likely in the future.

Also new at Buurma Farms, the company has added an electro-static sprayer, which charges chemical sprays with an electrical charge opposite to that of the ground, Buurma said.

That yields greater coverage, Buurma said, and requires fewer chemicals.

Buurma Farms also has installed surface air sanitation technology in its plant, Buurma said. The treated air produced through the technology kills bacteria, mold and viruses, he said.

Also new at Buurma Farms, the company has expanded its Georgia growing operation, adding Vidalia onions and sweet corn this year, Buurma said.


Michael Farms adds red and yellow potatoes

For the first time this season, Urbana, Ohio-based Michael Farms Inc. is growing red and yellow potatoes in addition to whites, said Scott Michael, the company’s president.

The company already had sourced reds and yellows through a spin-off company it co-founded in 2008, White Pigeon, Mich.-based Fresh Solutions.

Founded by Michael Farms and potato growers from Michigan, Washington and Pennsylvania, Fresh Solutions packs and distributes potatoes year-round.

In late summer, a bit of a gap opened up in the company’s red and yellow supplies, which made production from Michael Farms a natural fit, Michael said.

Demand for reds and yellows has grown nationwide, particularly in 5-pounders and other smaller packs, he said.

Also, Michael Farms has introduced a new recyclable cabbage box for 2010, Michael said.

The 50-pound brown cardboard box replaces the company’s white cardboard box and is an environmentally friendly alternative for customers who don’t want product in reusable plastic containers, which Michael Farms uses to ship much of its cabbage, Michael said.


Walcher Farms adds 8,000-square-foot building

By July 1, North Fairfield, Ohio-based Doug Walcher Farms hopes to be moved into a new 8,000 square-foot building that will allow the grower-shipper to better maintain the cold chain, said Ken Holthouse, the company’s general manager.

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