COLLINS, Ga. — After a yearlong hiatus from the sweet onion business, Michael Hively is back in the deal this year, and he’s wearing two hats.
As chief financial/chief operation officer for Curry & Co., Brooks, Ore., Hively plans to spend part of the year in Oregon and part in Georgia.
He worked at Bland Farms, Glennville, for nine years before taking last year off from the industry.
“It’s a tough schedule,” he joked. “At the hottest time of the year I’ll be in Oregon, and in winter I’ll be down here in Georgia.”
In Georgia, Hively doubles as the man on the ground for Curry & Co. and a partner
in the newly created Sweet Vidalia Farms LLC, based in Collins.
He and the father-son team of Mike and Travis Collins founded Sweet Vidalia Farms LLC this year. They received their incorporation paperwork March 13.
The trio was scrambling in mid-March to upgrade the 155,000-square-foot packing shed where they plan to package their onions, which will then be marketed by Curry & Co.
Hively said the shed should ship 40 to 50 loads per week this season, all with the Curry & Co. label.
He expects new baggers, a rebuilt front office and general improvements throughout the packing facility to be in place for the beginning of Vidalia harvest.
The five dryers at the shed are only two years old and among the best in the industry, Hively said.
When renovations are complete, Sweet Vidalia Farms LLC should have the capacity to store 150,000 bushels.
The company plans to use the shed year-round, packing sweet onions from Peru after the Vidalia deal wraps up.
“That’s about 40 new full-time, year-round jobs for this area,” Hively said.
Mike & Travis Farms, operated by Hively’s partners, the father-son duo of partners Mike and Travis Collins, is the growing entity associated with the new packing business Sweet Vidalia Farms LLC.
Mike Collins predicts a strong season this year with good quality onions.
“We had the best seed beds I’ve ever seen,” Collins said of the Vidalia seedlings that started out in November.