Dixie Produce adds security system

Dixie Produce Inc., Chattanooga, Tenn., added a fully digital security system to its operation.

The system includes live camera feeds that record to the website and a swipe-card security system to access all rooms.

It was implemented at the end of last year in order to be ready for the 2012 season.

“We’ve had some good results,” Kenny Pendergrass, vice president of purchasing, said.

Pendergrass said the company didn’t implement the cameras because of food safety issues, but now that employees know the entire place is monitored, they take better care of products.

Grow Farms expands, offers clamshells

Grow Farms, Louisville, Ky., is ready for a big year in 2012.

“We added about four growers, and our acreage increased about 50% on everything, including hothouses,” Brian Knott, president, said.

“Our growers like growing for us,” he said. “Every spring the come to us and ask how much more they can grow.”

The company is also adding roma tomato and grape tomato clamshells to its product line for this year after adding two packages last year.

“We are increasing our packaging every year and starting to put our brand on clamshells,” Knott said.

Grow Farms plans for them to be seasonal packs that are available from the beginning of harvest until frost.

Commissioner looks to expand local efforts

James Comer was sworn into office Jan. 2 as commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, and he has goals of expanding the market for Kentucky agriculture products, promoting the Kentucky Proud program, enhancing rural economic development and adding transparency to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, according to the department’s website.

“We’re always reevaluating our current efforts,” said Adam Watson, produce marketing specialist for the department. “Folks can keep an eye out because there could be some positive changes as (the new commissioner) gets a better feel for what Kentucky Proud can do in the future and what it’s doing now.”

M. Palazola expands with new trucks, staff

M. Palazola Produce Co., Memphis, Tenn., is expanding operations.

The company has added three trucks to its fleet and hired several new employees.

The sales staff increased by five or six, sales manager Rick Gaia said, and the warehouse added a number of employees.

“When Adams went out of business, we picked up some of those workers,” Gaia said.

The company also upgraded some machinery in their expansion efforts.