(Nov. 8) SANTA MARIA, Calif. — A supplier to fresh-cut processors is changing its name to reflect the fact that it invests in growing and harvesting operations as well as selling bin lettuce, romaine and broccoli florets.

Veg Source, which was founded in February 2003, will now do business as Sun Coast Farms.

The company, whose shipments have grown 400% since its inception, expects to ship more than 2.28 million pounds of bulk lettuce and romaine per week in 2005, said Lisa Dias, co-founder and sales manager.

The year-round supplier handles product in Santa Maria, the Imperial Valley and Yuma, Ariz.

A combination of factors led to the name change for Sun Coast Farms, said Tom Lathos, who joined the company as general manager in June.

“We wanted people to know we’re more grower-shippers than brokers because we invest in the growing and harvesting operations,” Lathos said. “We’re aligning ourselves with the best growers and taking ownership from seed to gate.”

This fall seemed an appropriate time to change the name because the company ran into trademark issues with a vegetarian lifestyle organization when it tried to launch a Web site at www.vegsource.biz, Dias said. The vegetarian organization, VegSource.com, objected, she said.

“We were never in love with our name, and we’re a young company, so it’s a good time to begin using a name that helps us be seen as a grower,” Dias said.