Faison, N.C.-based Southern Produce Distributors Inc. is finishing up some major expansion projects, said Stewart Precythe, president and CEO.
The company is adding a six-room, 33,000-square-foot refrigerated curing and storage facility that will hold 6,600 large bins. It should be ready in October.
The firm also has leased an additional 90,000 square feet in a building where it already leases space. The added area is for new curing rooms with horizontal ventilation. Part of it will be used for sweet potatoes destined for Thanksgiving or Christmas delivery.
Another 27,000 square feet in the building is designated for bin and cardboard storage.
New equipment also is being installed.
Southern Produce Distributors is installing a second Hagen sizer/packing line with seven lanes. It should be in operation by Thanksgiving, Precythe said.
And the company has bought a second bagging machine for domestic and international business. It will pack 3, 5- and 10-pound bags.
Speaking of bags, Southern’s 10 in 1 bags, available in 3- and 5-pound sizes, list 10 ways consumers can prepare sweet potatoes — grilled, microwaved, roasted, fried, chipped, steamed, mashed, baked, boiled or in a wok, he said.
The company also has a 1.5-pound microwaveable or steamable bag with five or six potatoes that was introduced last year at several major supermarket chains and is “moving very well,” he said.
Finally, the firm has added new housing facility that will accommodate 100 temporary H-2A workers.