Corbett Farms expands coolers

Ken Corbett Farms LLC has expanded its refrigeration capacity.

The Lake Park, Ga.-based grower-shipper constructed a 10,000-square-foot cooler.

The expansion adds to the company’s 25,000 square feet of cooling capacity, said Eric Bolesta, sales manager.

Additional business, not acreage, prompted the addition, he said.

“From a production standpoint, we needed the area to make ourselves more efficient,” Bolesta said. “Having so many different items, packaging really eats up your cooling space quickly. This is something we needed to do from an inventory and efficiency standpoint.”

Started in 1972, Ken Corbett Farms grows and ships bell peppers, cucumbers, squash and eggplant.


J&B Blueberry Farms builds new packing operation

J&B Blueberry Farms Inc., has constructed a new blueberry packing operation in Manor, Ga.

The grower-shipper this season is packing from an 18,500 square foot refrigerated building that includes a new packing line and two refrigeration units, said Joe Cornelius, president of the Manor-based operation.

Previously, J&B packed from another Manor operation run by Alex Cornelius, Joe Cornelius’ brother.

“With so much production coming online in the next few years in the Southeast, we need more infrastructure to handle what we have coming,” Cornelius said. “This size of operation that me and my family are running represents the next step.”

He said the plant should help the state pack more fresh volume.

Cornelius is vice chairman of the Grand Junction-based Michigan Blueberry Growers Association, which is a part of Naturipe Farms LLC in Salinas, Calif.


Leger expands packing operations

Leger & Son Inc., added a new packinghouse.

The Cordele, Ga.-based grower-shipper is packing watermelon from Ashburn, Ga., 20 miles south of its headquarters.

The new facility replaces older operations.

The building was first completed last spring, but Leger this spring added new packing equipment to the plant, said Greg Leger, president and owner.

In the past, Leger & Son packed watermelon as well as cantaloupe and snap beans through another Ashburn facility.

It decided to stop growing the latter commodities and focus on watermelon, Leger said.

The enclosed 30,000-square-foot operation expands the packing line to two lines, he said.

“This will help with passing food safety audits and all the food safety issues we face in the produce business,” Leger said. “We can better manage and oversee our packing and improve our monitoring of what ultimately ships to the chain stores.”

Leger also packs from Pine View, Ga., about 20 miles north of Cordele, where it also packs.


Southern Valley starts lettuce

Southern Valley Fruit & Vegetable Inc., is now growing and marketing leafy greens.

The Norman Park, Ga.-based grower-shipper is growing green leaf, red leaf and romaine lettuce.

The products are marketed in naked 36-pound bulk cartons for the red and green and 40-pound bulk cartons for the romaine. They are also available in wrapped reusable plastic containers, said Dug Schwalls, sales director.

“We have had some interest from our customers to have a local program on lettuce,” he said. “We have other items in rotation on drip irrigation, so we thought we’d try it.”

Southern Valley began growing the product in late February.

Spring production runs through late April while winter production begins in November, Schwalls said.


Wish Farms adds grower-shipper

Wish Farms is now marketing blueberries for Mixon Farms LLC in Waycross, Ga.

The arrangement boosts the Plant City, Fla.-based Wish Farms’ Georgia blueberry volume by 1 million pounds, said Teddy Koukoulis, Wish Farms’ director of blueberry operations.

Koukoulis said the farm possesses a strong reputation.

“They’ve been growing quite a while,” he said. “They grow the rabbiteye and highbush varieties and pack for other growers. We as a company are growing and look forward to providing our customers more volume through this addition.”