(May 30) WIMAUMA, Fla. — Sanwa Growers Inc. will open a new facility this year in the Orlando metropolitan area after structuring a deal with state agriculture officials.

The Wimuama-based company, which specializes in Asian vegetables and herbs, plans to move in to a 13,000-square-foot produce distribution center in December at the Sanford State Farmers Market, located in Sanford, Fla., just northeast of Orlando. Sanwa is helping renovate the facility, while the Tallahassee-based Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is chipping in with money and by cutting Sanwa’s rent at the facility by 40% over the next decade.

The department owns the Sanford market, which dates to 1934 and is the oldest state-owned farmers market in the U.S., said Don Coker, the bureau chief of Florida’s 15 farmers markets.

Second and third phases to the revitalization project could be forthcoming, Coker said. The state would like to add a retail farmers market to the facility, and agriculture officials are negotiating with the city of Sanford to build a storm water retention park and new fire and police headquarters on adjacent land owned by the state, he said.

Sanwa, which has wholesale and foodservice distribution facilities in Atlanta, Miami and Tampa, Fla., will look to run foodservice delivery trucks out of the Sanford operation and also will try to build dock traffic, said Sue Grier, the company’s general manager.

“We also hope this will help that market get back to what it used to be,” Grier said. “It seems a shame that a market with that much history was going unused.”

Grier said the deal was two years in the making.

Tony Leung, the company’s president, said it “will greatly enhance our existing distribution network and allow for future expansion and increased shipping volume.”

Sanwa ships to major retail accounts primarily in the Southeast, and its foodservice distributorships focus on Asian restaurants.

Coker, the market bureau chief, said rent for the facility would normally be $63,000 a year. However, Sanwa is spending $423,000 to help with the renovations — and $258,000 of it will be permanent improvements to the structure. So the state is cutting the rent annually by $25,800 over 10 years, he said.

The agriculture department, meanwhile, is contributing $75,000 to the project.