Business updates - The Packer

Business updates

02/24/2012 09:43:00 AM
Jim Offner

A-W Produce Co. upgrades packing line

 

Frontera Produce exits onion, melon biz

Edinburg, Texas-based Frontera Produce Ltd. has spun off its onion and watermelon businesses, giving way to Crescent Fruit & Vegetable LLC, a stand-alone company that Frontera owners Jim and Will Steele launched Jan. 1.

The Steeles brought in David DeBerry, former owner of Edinburg-based David K Deberry Inc., as onion category director.

The company operates out of a 120,000-square-foot facility in Edinburg that Frontera purchased in 2010 from Borders Melon Co. Inc., which moved, according to DeBerry.

That was the genesis of the new company, he said.

The new company has 14 employees in sales and accounting — many of whom moved over from Frontera — and more than 100 in the warehouse before the peak season hits.

The warehouse will have nearly 400 workers during the onion and melon seasons, DeBerry said.

Chris Eddy, sales and operations manager at Frontera, moved to Crescent to handle similar responsibilities, DeBerry said.

Crescent handles 2,200 acres of onions in Tampico, Mexico, and about 1,900 in Texas, DeBerry said.

The company’s label is Moonlit Farms.

Grasmick Inc. quits Texas onion deal

Granada, Colo.-based Grasmick Inc., which had operated Grasmick South LLC in Pharr, Texas, has exited the Texas onion deal, said Tommy Whitlock, who had sold Texas onions for Grasmick and continues to sell product for the company in Colorado.

The Onion House has new sweets label

The Onion House, based in Weslaco, Texas, is offering a new sweet onion label, Sweet Senorita, said Don Ed Holmes, company president.

"It’s an old label that we purchased from Griffon & Brand (now out of business)," Holmes said. "It was one of the biggest onion labels. When you say that label, people who have been in the business for years are very familiar with it."

The label is now one of two Onion House labels — 1015 Millenium Sweet is the other — and they serve different customer bases, Holmes said.

"It’s the same onion but different brands," he said. "For receivers that target the Hispanic market, Sweet Senorita has a lot of Latin appeal."

Progreso Produce adds packinghouse

Pharr, Texas-based Progreso Produce LLC has added an onion packing and shipping operation in Othello, Wash., said Curtis DeBerry, president.

The company is growing about 500 acres of onions in Washington, and all of that product is being packed and shipped out of the leased facility.

"We started operating there in August," DeBerry said. "We grow all the Northwest varieties, storage-type onions."

The deal helps Progreso become a year-round onion supplier, DeBerry said.

By Jim Offner, special to The Packer

 

Weslaco, Texas-based A-W Produce Co., has upgraded its packing line with a cup sizer, as opposed to a traditional chain sizer, said Chad Szutz, general manager.

"Compared to a chain sizer, where onions run across a chain and fall through, we have a computer-operated machine that weighs each onion and sizes it that way," said Szutz, whose company grows onions on about 400 acres. "We put it in at the very end of last season, and we used it partially then, but we’ll use it 100% this season."



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