Vidalia onions business update briefs

03/29/2012 01:21:00 PM
Doug Ohlemeier

G&R Farms adds coolers, bagging machines

During March, G&R Farms, Glennville, Ga., installed a bagging machine. The addition gives the grower-shipper five bagging machines, said Walt Dasher, co-owner.

The machinery allows the grower-shipper to meet retailer demand for consumer bags, Dasher said.

G&R also installed two bin dumping machines.

Now using eight machines, the bin dumpers are designed to help G&R speed its process of getting the onions out of the field, Dasher said.

Additionally, G&R installed a 50,000-bushel cooler. The addition increases G&R’s cooling capacity to 270,000 bushels, Dasher said. G&R previously worked with 13 refrigerated rooms.

“My biggest goal in moving forward is to speed the harvesting process,” Dasher said.

“The older I get, the more I understand we can do nothing with Mother Nature. We can have a perfect crop in the field but weather issues on top of it can change things overnight.”

In other news, G&R doubled its company-owned trucks. G&R now can ship onions from six tractor-trailers, Dasher said.

Herndon installs baggers, packing line

L.G. Herndon Jr. Farms Inc., Lyons, Ga., installed a bagging machine.

The machinery allows the grower-shipper to fill Defor wrap-around bags. The addition provides Herndon Farms three bagging machines.

Herndon was also constructing a third packing line. The new line should allow Herndon to increase its daily packing capacity by 30%, said L.G. “Bo” Herndon Jr., president.

“This will allow us to get our onions out of the field faster, get loads out quicker and do things much more efficiently,” Herndon said. “These changes will help our whole operation.”

In January, Herndon promoted packinghouse manager John Williams to sales and marketing manager.

Herndon said he wanted to turn most of the sales and marketing efforts to Williams, who lives in Charlotte, N.C.

Williams, who ran Herndon’s packinghouse in 2010-11, previously worked in building and construction and in real estate sales as an agent and broker.

Williams said Herndon is overhauling its website and said his packinghouse work gave him produce industry experience to understand growing and packing needs and customer requirements.

Shuman Produce expands acreage

Shuman Produce Inc., Reidsville, Ga., increased its storage capacity to 600,000 40-pound case equivalents, up from 480,000 last season.

The additional controlled atmosphere storage should allow Shuman to extend its shipping season through August, said John Shuman, president.

Shuman also redesigned its websites, realsweet.com and shumanproduce.com.

The design provides a history of the company, recipes, different ways to use Vidalia onions as well as storage and handling information and other information.

“We are seeing very good demand,” Shuman said.

“We have been very blessed with the opportunities we’ve had to grow our business during the past 10 years. We are also increasing our acreage as we see opportunities for our business to grow.”

Shuman and the growers he markets for grow on more than 1,800 acres.

Stanley Farms gives storage a boost

Stanley Farms, Vidalia, Ga., increased its storage capacity.

The grower-shipper added 150,000 bushels of storage, increasing its controlled atmosphere storage to 350,000 bushels, said Brian Stanley, sales manager.

The improvements should allow Stanley Farms to store half of its crop, he said.

“We should be able to extend our deal to Labor Day, the first week of September,” Stanley said.

“Usually, we have to finish in mid-August because we ran out of capacity when we sold out of the storage deal. This gives us added capacity to go longer.”

Stanley Farms also entered sweet potatoes, and plans to grow 200 acres in its first year of production.

In other news, Stanley Farms in March added Brandon Thomas to handle the company’s social media.

Thomas is a recent graduate of Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon, Ga.



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