Coral BeachSales manager for Stanley Farms, Brian Stanley (left) and his brother and operations manager, Tracy Stanley, say new equipment such as this filler and weigher will speed their packing line and reduce labor costs this season. VIDALIA, Ga. — Packing operations at Stanley Farms’ fresh Vidalia onion operation will be faster than ever this season because of new computerized equipment at the family-owned business.
Brian Stanley, sales manager, said a $500,000 investment in machinery from the Giro Co. will speed pre-packing.
Tracy Stanley, engineer and operations manager for the company’s fresh Vidalia onion line, agreed, adding that the delicate nature of Vidalia onions and their relatively short shelf life make packing speed even more important.
“The new baggers can handle 60 3-pound bags per minute,” Tracy Stanley said.
The grower-shipper company also has three new check weighers, bringing their total to four, which Tracy Stanley said means nine employees are freed up for other work.
Stanley Farms plants about 1,000 acres of certified Vidalia onions. About 120 of those acres are also certified as organic, up slightly from 2013.
“We want to be a one-stop shop for retailers,” Brian Stanley said.
“The demand for the organic Vidalia onions has been steady. Demand is growing slowly and retailers are doing a pretty good job promoting the organics.”
Brian Stanley said the organic Vidalia onions take more hand labor in the field to control weeds, so saving time and money during the packing phase of the onions’ trip from field to fork is doubly important.