Posts Tagged “Vidalia”

Generations Farms in Vidalia Purchased by Global Ag Company

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Generations Farms LLC, a grower, shipper of onions in Vidalia, GA has been purchased by Optimum Agriculture. The buyout includes nearly 5,600 acres of land and packing/processing facilities.

The Vidalia, Ga., area operation is the former Stanley Farms, which began growing Vidalia onions in 1975, although R.T. Stanley began farming in 1964. It became Generation Farms in 2016 when it was purchased and merged with carrot company Coggins Farm, Lake Park.

Short term plans for the new owners is to ramp up production of onions and other items, according to a news release.

Optimum Agriculture, described as a global agricultural company focused on land acquisition and management, plans to continue to use the Generation Farms brand name on the onions, watermelon and other produce grown and marketed by the company.

Optimum ICD Holdings LLC is the new owner of the Generation Farms properties, trademark and land, which includes acreage in Tattnall and Toombs counties in Georgia. Terms of the transaction are not being disclosed, according to the release.

The new owners plan to increase production at Generation Farms, naming onions, watermelons, sweet potatoes, green beans, cabbage and sweet corn in the release.

“This acquisition is part of a long-term plan to maximize operational efficiencies by diversifying weather and harvest risks across states,” Gaston Marquevich, CEO of Optimum Agriculture, said in the release. “Our short-term objective is to increase the utilization of the facilities by increasing production and to deliver a constant supply of food to retailers throughout the year.”

Optimum plans to continue all current operations at Generation Farms, along with supplying previous customers. Marquevich welcomed Generation Farms’ employees to the company in the release.

Optimum ICD Holdings has two other U.S. properties, the El Maximo Ranch in Osceola County, Fla., and the Alico Pond Island Grove, a 1,364-acre property with citrus in the same county. Optimum’s U.S. office is in Miami.

In June, Grimmway Farms purchased the Lake Park, Ga., and northern Florida operations of Generation Farms. Those properties were not involved in the Optimum Agriculture sale.

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Loadings for CO Spuds, GA Veggies, Peruvian Onions

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As we approach fall, here is a look at the upcoming possibilities for fall loadings for Colorado potatoes, Georgia vegetables and imports of sweet onions from Peru.

Colorado Potato ShipmentsIMG_5479+1

Last year San Luis Valley Colorado potatoes were harvested off of 52,000 acres.   This year acreage is about 50,900 acres.

Diggings started for some growers in August, with the harvest running into mid-October.  There were 2,176 truck loads shipped during the 2015-16 season, down about 400 loads from the previous season.  Russets account for nearly 99 percent of the crop last year and 97 percent in 2014-15.

Yellows last year were 0.2 percent, down slightly from 0.3 in 2014-15.  Interestingly, yellows have declined since 2013, dropping 0.1percent each year.  Red potatoes were 1 percent last year and 2.6 percent the year before, showing an increase of russets in 2015-16.

Shipments are increasing, but currently too light to quote freight rates.

Georgia Vegetable Shipments

While the volume doesn’t match that of spring and summer loadings, fall Georgia vegetable shipments are significant.  A drawback may be multiple pick ups for lack of any one shipping having truckload volume at anyone time.  Still, it is that time of year.  Florida is dead and there’s not a lot of choices in the Southeast.

Generally speaking most fall Georgia vegetables are in the ground and harvest will be starting anytime.  Heaviest volumes will be during October, although lighter shipments will be occurring in November and into December.

Among the fall veggie loading available are:  bell peppers, squash, cabbage, green beans, sweet corn, cucumbers, eggplant, greens (kale, collard, turnip and mustard), as well as carrots sweet potatoes and hot peppers.

Shipments are too light to get an accurate quote on freight rates.

Peruvian Onion Imports

Onion imports from Peru have started arriving at U.S. ports in light volume, but are increasing.  Peru typically follows the Vidalia sweet onion season.  The product from Southeastern Georgia enjoyed banner shipments this season and is virtually finished.  Meanwhile, it’s making for a good transition to Peruvian imported onions, which will continue through the winter and dovetail into the sweet onion shipments that will be coming next spring out of Mexico and then Texas – and once again back to Vidalia.

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Haul Produce Update on NC, Georgia, Pennsylvania

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DSCN0152North Carolina is shipping light to moderate amounts of  greens ranging from cilantro to kale, plus cabbage.  These items handle the colder weather better than a lot of other vegetables which would normally be shipping now, but are up to two weeks behind schedule.

In mid June there should be loadings of veggies such as sweet corn, bell peppers, and tomatoes, among others. 

North Carolina continues, pretty much on a year around, to ship sweet potatoes.

Georgia Vegetables

The Georgia Vidalia onion shipping season started out as a disaster due to disease problems caused by weather factors.  Now Mother Nature has since shined on Southeastern Georgia, and suddenly, shippers have more onions than they know what to do with.  The crop is now past the disease problems, quality is good, and shippers are shipping like crazy.  Loadings are expected to continue into August.

Meanwhile, mixed vegetable loadings have got underway, primarily from Southern Georgia.


Mushroom may not be at the top of your list when looking for produce loads, but it continues to grow in popularity.  Pennsylvania is huge when it comes to growing and shipping mushrooms, along with California and Illinois.  However, many states have mushroom growing facilities.

Sales of the 2011-12 U.S. mushroom crop totaled 900 million pounds, up 4 percent from the 2010-11 season.. This amounts to 22,500 truckload equivalents of mushrooms being hauled annually.

Vidalia onions – grossing about $2400 to Chicago.

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Georgia and Michigan Spring Produce Shipments

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Georgia shipments should start from the Fort Valley area in mid-May, about a week or two later than in recent years.  Loadings should be more normal this season, with peak movement occurring in July and continuing until about August 10.   The season then should conclude a week or so later.

Looking at Vidalia onions, too much rain, mostly in March, is resulting in a disease known as seed stems.   This results in bolts, flower stalks and seeds showing up on the plants in the field.   Seed stems cause the core of an onion to become hollow, which results in rapid deterioration of the entire onion.  Most of this is problem is removed at the packing shed with grading, but keep an extra eye out for it when loading.  A significant reduction in loading opportunities is expected because of the problem.

South Carolina peach shipments typically follow Georgia shipments, with only a few days or a week separating when the two areas start and finish.


Michigan ranks third in the nation for asparagus shipments, annually producing 25 million pounds.  The harvest is usually underway by May 1st, but cold weather has the crop behind schedule.  Asparagus should finally be getting underway anytime now.

Michigan also is one of the leading shippers of blueberries., with loading opportunities normally from June to September, with the most volume occurring in July and August.

 “Blues” shipments from Michigan totaled only 72 million pounds in 2011 and 87 million pounds in 2012.  This year, it may return to a more normal loading amount at over 100 million pounds of blueberries.


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Eastern Produce Loads are Providing Mixed Bag

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Produce shipments on the East Coast are a mixed bag this year and some areas are shipping more normal volumes, with other areas doing less.

Shipments of New Jersey blueberries, along with vegetables continue to be loaded in normal volumes.  Jersey peach loadings are ramping up and should be in peak volume soon, continuing through July.

Further south in the Mid-Altantic area, sometimes referred to as the Eastern Shore, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia are shipping a variety of vegetables, with more coming into play as we enter July.   This area, however, has struggled over the years, as it tries to provide shipments during a gap between states to the south of it, and  New Jersey to the north, which in theory is supposed to begin shipments when Delaware, Maryland and Virgina are finishing.

However, it’s a gamble every year and if the southern states are late coming in, or Jersey is early, the the Mid-Atlantic states tend to face poor markets, and fewer loading opportunities for produce haulers.  As a result this area does not have as many shippers as it used to.

Meanwhile, there are fewer Georgia vegetables, Vidalia onions and peaches this year due to weather factors, although the vegetables were easily hit the hardest of the three.

Vidalia, Georgia onions – grossing about $3200 to New York City.

New Jersey blueberries – about $1800 to Boston.


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Georgia Loadings are Cranking Up

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While Georgia greens, cabbage, squash  and Vidalia sweet onions shipments have been underway, more items are joining the “party.”   Over the last half of May loadings will begin for cucumbers, bell peppers, watermelons and blueberries from southern areas of the state.  Volume on “blues”  will be lighter than usual at the start due a freeze earlier this year.  Most of the vegetable shippers have operations scattered between the Georgia/Florida state line stretching northward up to the Americus and Cordele areas….Vidalia onions, and some other vegetable shipments are in the Southeastern part of Georgia.

Just south of Macon, GA is the Ft. Valley area, famous for its Georgia peaches.  Loadings for the stone fruit should get started in a light way within the next week or so, with good volume coming about a week later.  About 2.5 million boxes of peaches should be shipped this season, down a little from the bumper loadings of a year ago.

South Georgia vegetables – grossing about $2800 to New York City.

Southeastern Vidalia onions – about $2600 to Chicago.


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National Loading Opportunties

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Going from East to West  with U.S. produce shipping areas, in Florida I’m not sure why rates are little, if any more to Boston than to New York City.  Afterall, you’ve got another 200 miles to Boston from Florida.  Of course, Boston traditionally offers fewer return loads.  So if you can gross $3600 to New York, surely a load of Florida vegetables, melons etc. should be getting close to $4000.

Southern Georgia shipments are cranking up with peppers, squash, greens and cabbage, while Southeastern Georgia Vidalia onions are in full shipping mode.  Overall, expect Vidalia onion loadings to be off 20 to 30 percent this season due to disease.

In South Texas, sweet onion shipments are two to three weeks ahead of schedule and should be pretty much finished around May 10th.  The Lower Rio Grande Valley also is loading items ranging from citrus, to beets, greens, cabbage, etc.

There are steady shipments of Idaho potatoes — grossing about $4200 to Atlanta.

The same holds for storage onions from the Idaho and Malhuer County, Oregon region — grossing about $5400 to Baltimore.

South Texas produce – about $2800 to Los Angeles.

Vidalia, GA onions – about $2600 to Chicago.

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Georgia Shipments to Increase

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Georgia spring fruits and vegetables are generally a week or more early giving  truckers some loading opportunities a little sooner than normal.  Greens ranging from kale to mustard, collard, etc. are in a steady mode for harvest, packing and shipping.  In the weeks ahead veggies ranging from  beans to cucumbers, squash, eggplant, peppers, etc. will be coming on from central and southern areas of Georgia.

Light shipments of sweet Vidalia onions are underway, with good volume about another week away.

Something not widely known about Georgia is its blueberry shipments have significantly increased over the past eight years or so.  In 2004 it had 20 million pounds of blues and this year it should ship about 50 million pounds, despite half of the crop being wiped out by a February freeze.   In recent years Georgia has ranked anywhere from second to fourth in blueberry shipments, and this is expected to continue increasing.

Georgia peach shipments should be starting around May 10th from the Ft. Valley area.  Volume is expected to be normal for the early and middle part of the season, although the late season peaches could yield lighter shipments if projections hold.  Georgia typically ships peaches into August.

In South Carolina peach shipments should get underway around the third week of May.

Various greens from Georgia – grossing about $2600 to Philadelphia.


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Apples Remain a Good Buy; Sweet Onions Coming

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With four percent more apples remaining in U.S. storages nationally, the fruit should remain a good retail buy well into the summer months.  Washington state provides more apples than all other states combined, so naturally your choices will be more plentiful from the Northwest, especially if you live in the Western half of the country.  No surprise, the most common varieties of apples will be in greatest supply in your supermarket:  red delicious, gala and granny smith.  There should also be decent supplies of fuji and golden delilcious apples.

It’s almost time for domestic sweet onions.  Texas will be providing the first sweet onions in many retail stores, with arrivals by late March.  Expect sweet onions from Vidalia, GA to be availble in limited qualities in some stores by Easter (April 8), with plentiful supplies by mid-April.

Chilean red seedless grapes are reasonably priced now, and have a great sweet taste.  Berry size has improved from a few weeks ago.

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Reduced Georgia, Florida Loads

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We’re getting more information on how shipments may be affected from Georgia and Florida following a freeze from about a week ago.

slide-imageIn Georgia, it is becoming clearer the cold temperatures did significant damage to blueberries — perhaps as much as 50 percent of the crop.  Hardest hit were the early Georgia  berries, which typically start in late April and provide loadings  through May….There will also be some losses of Vidalia sweet onions, but shipments are not expected to be significantly affected overall.  Onion loadings should kick off in a small way around April 10-15 and move into good volume over the next two weeks.

In Florida, the cold front was not as serious, although initial predictions see blueberry shipments being cut by 20 percent for the season.  Florida blueberries usually begin harvest in the southern and central parts of the state by late March, finishing in early May.  The northern Florida blueberries typically are finished by the middle of May.

In general, the Southeastern freeze damage occured north of Interstate 4 and became progressively worse the further north you go.

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