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Sy Katz Produce expands Georgia acreage after similar move in northern Florida

Business is good at Sy Katz Produce Inc. in Boone, NC - so good that the company increased its north Florida plantings by 15 percent and its south Georgia holdings by a like number, according to President Owen Margolis.

There has been a strong increase in demand for the Katz's variety peppers, and a high market along with increased plantings means Katz will be able to cash in on that demand.

Katz rolls from its north Florida deal straight into its south Georgia deal, growing squash, eggplant, cucumbers, bell and variety peppers in Lake Park, GA. Last year Katz moved its south Georgia operations to Coggins Farms, which serves as its Georgia distribution center. Katz markets products for Deep South Farms and Walt Carter Farms, both of Lake Park, GA.

As the north Florida deal wrapped up at the end of April, the Georgia program maintained the momentum of the pepper market. Mr. Margolis also said demand is strong for its eggplants.

The company recently added some help to handle the increased demand, naming Drew Steury to the sales and sales support staff.

Katz plans its Georgia plantings to come on at once to help customers with f.o.b. and shipping rates. With its full lineup available at the same time, clients save on freight when there is "more than one item to load on a truck," said Mr. Margolis.

The Georgia crop was coming along fine as of early May. "The crops look good so far," Mr. Margolis said. "It's a little bit too early to tell, but we have not had any problems. There hasn't been any bad weather."

Mr. Margolis said the Georgia spring deal is "Absolutely moving the way it's supposed to be moving."

He credited the growers Katz works with for much of that. "We truly do feel like - especially in the Georgia and Carolina deal - that we do work with really fine growers, or we wouldn't be working with them," Mr. Margolis said. "We've got a longstanding reputation to uphold, and it takes good growers to help us do it. We're partners with them. We're a link in the chain and they're an integral part of it."

Katz is headquartered in Boone, but has branches in Pompano Beach, FL, Benton Harbor, MI, Clinton, NC, Nogales, AZ, and Lake Park.