Magnolia Vegetable Processors began production in July 2017 with fresh pack cucumbers and jalapeños. Although cucumbers make up a substantial segment of the business, our customers have gourmet products that call for a variety of pickled vegetables. We expect our customer base to grow significantly, which will create even more opportunities for the local farming economy.
The majority of fruits and vegetables in the U.S. are grown in California, which has been in a severe drought for several years now. We recognize that something has to change. We have farmers in Alabama and the rest of the Southeast who can grow a lot of the same crops that are grown out west, processed and hauled across the country. To provide some context, every time a truckload of fruits and vegetables is shipped here from California it adds $4,000-$5,000 to the cost.
We want to build as many relationships as we can with local farmers who are willing to grow the products we need. Other areas of the country have buying centers where large amounts of produce, grown by several farmers, are sold to processing plants. We don’t have a system like that in our area yet. Until we do, we want farmers to know they can deal directly with us at MVP.
Field to Jar
Magnolia Vegetable Processors specializes in pickling, including cucumbers, okra, peppers, green beans, pearl onions, baby corn, various fruits and relishes. Eventually, we plan to expand our product mix with salsa items. Cucumbers, jalapeños and okra will be our primary focus initially. During their respective seasons, we may use fresh produce that is shipped, washed, chopped and processed within hours of being harvested. Coordinating with our growers will continue to be a crucial element to our success. FamilyFarmed, a non-profit organization advocating for locally grown food, has published an extensive training resource for farmers entering the wholesale market: Wholesale Success: A Farmer’s Guide to Food Safety, Selling , Postharvest Handling, and Packing Produce.
News & Updates
Homecoming: Wickles Pickles returning production to Alabama
Sims Food Inc., the company behind the popular pickles that are sold across the U.S., is moving production from North Carolina back to Alabama. By the end of the year, Will and Trey Sims and partner Andy Anderson expect 100 percent of Wickles Pickles to be made at Magnolia Vegetable Processors in Brundidge. The move could mean new growth and opportunities for the company, as well as closer ties with cucumber producers across the state.
Pickling Paradise: Entrepreneur brings more business to Brundidge
Chuck Caraway knows the food business, and that knowledge has paid off for Brundidge. As founder and president of Southern Classic Food Group, Caraway is responsible for adding about 225 jobs to the city since he launched the food manufacturing and distributing company in 2001.
Southern Classic Food Group owner gets $1.3M loan to develop vegetable processing plant in Brundidge
After a lot of paper shuffling and signing on Wednesday morning, David Bailey, South Alabama Electric Cooperative General Manager, handed Chuck Caraway a check for $1.36 million on behalf of Magnolia Food Processors. The $1,360,000 made available to Caraway includes a USDA $1 million interest-free loan, $300,000 in grant funding and a $60,000 match from South Alabama Electric Cooperative. May 18, 2017
WANTED: Farmers For Expanding Business In Brundidge
The tiny town of Brundidge is a sleeping giant in the eyes of food services entrepreneur Chuck Caraway, who grew up in neighboring Barbour County. Caraway, 57, and his partners at Southern Classic Food Group LLC and Magnolia Vegetable Processors, believe Alabama farmers have the ingredients to wake that giant and help it thrive.
APPETITE FOR GROWTH: Alabama food companies are booming, expanding operations
Companies across Alabama are investing millions of dollars in new and expanded specialty food processing operations that tap into growing national trends. They seek to capitalize on the popular push among consumers to eat more locally sourced foods. At the same time, they’re providing employment and investment in Alabama’s rural areas, as well as new avenues for the state’s farmers to bring their own products to market.