New owners for Taylor & Fulton
Taylor & Fulton Inc., a tomato packinghouse that has been a fixture in
Palmetto, Fla., for more than 50 years, is changing ownership, according to
the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
Jimmy Grainger, a Myakka City tomato and citrus grower who already owns an
interest in the business; Ed Angrisani, sales manager and longtime Taylor &
Fulton employee; and Brian Turner, who grows vegetables at the Wiers-Turner
Farms in Sarasota and Manatee counties, will be taking over during the next
few weeks from Jay and Jim Taylor, who plan to semi-retire.
"We're real excited about who is going to be here," Jay Taylor said of the
Palmetto packinghouse. "Those guys are truly going to continue the business
as it has been for many years."
Although the change comes at a time when Florida's tomato industry has
endured several seasons of low profits, a freeze this year coupled with a
20% drop in plantings has resulted in prices that are twice as high as last
year, the newspaper reported.
The brothers also are selling the packinghouses at their farms in Georgia
and Virginia, but they will continue to own, lease and manage the land.
E-mail Tom Burfield
Taylor & Fulton packinghouse sold
By Doug Ohlemeier
(Jan. 25) PALMETTO, Fla. — Retaining its name
and label, Taylor & Fulton’s longtime tomato sales manager and a major
tomato grower and another grower are buying the company’s Palmetto
Ed Angrisani, a 30-year tomato sales veteran who has sold tomatoes for
Taylor & Fulton since the early 1980s; Jim Grainger, owner of Grainger Farms
and co-owner of Tomatoes of Ruskin Inc., Ruskin; and citrus and vegetable
grower Brian Turner, are buying the packing operation.
Though the new owners are changing the Taylor & Fulton Inc. name to Taylor &
Fulton Packing LLC, the new partners plan to keep packing mature greens and
roma tomatoes in the recognized Taylor & Fulton label.
Neither the new owners nor Jay Taylor, Taylor & Fulton’s president, would
disclose financial details of the purchase, to become effective March 1.
The sale of Taylor & Fulton’s Palmetto packing shed comes as the 54-year-old
grower and packer announced it was selling its Immokalee Tomato Man Inc.
packinghouse to Immokalee-based Six L’s Packing Co. Inc. Six L’s had already
moved into the building, Taylor said.
Sales of Taylor & Fulton’s other packinghouses in Quincy and Mappsville,
Va., were also in process, Taylor said.
Angrisani, a self-employed salesman, has also sold tomatoes for Miami-based
Gulfstream Tomato Growers Ltd., Tomato Man and Taylor & Fulton’s North
Florida Tomato Inc., Quincy.
“I’m just happy that Taylor & Fulton is being perpetuated,” Angrisani said.
“I’m real happy with the people I have partnered up with because they’re
aggressive people. The tomato business is all I know. This will be a great
mix of people.”
The new operation plans to pack tomatoes from October through mid-June from
Grainger’s and Turner’s Palmetto and Immokalee production.
Though he plans to stop packing his tomatoes at Tomatoes of Ruskin after the
winter season, Grainger, who has been a stockholder in the company since
1991, said he plans to remain friends but a competitor with that company’s
Dickman and Diehl family owners.
Turner, a sod grower who expanded to vegetables and recently into tomato
production, partners with Wiers Farm Inc. in Willard, Ohio, in his 1,800
acres of bell peppers, cucumbers, squash, eggplant and other vegetables
grown in Manatee and Sarasota counties through Wiers-Turner Farms, Palmetto.
Turner separately has 600 acres of tomatoes.
The new company’s partners declined to state its tomato acreage or expected
volume but said it would be similar to Taylor & Fulton’s volume.
Taylor said he’s enthused by the sale.
“The guys coming in here are young and ambitious people with good
reputations,” he said. “They have a good standing in the community. It’s
quite a compliment that they want to maintain the Taylor & Fulton identity.”
Taylor said he was especially pleased that many of the company’s key
personnel were expected to continue working with the new owners.
The purchase does not involve Taylor & Fulton’s East Coast tomato acreage.
Taylor said he planned to stop growing tomatoes on that land in February and
transition the land into a property management and leasing company.
Turner, however, is leasing some of Taylor & Fulton’s Manatee County acreage
for tomato production.
Angrisani has also sold tomatoes for Pacific Tomato Growers Ltd., Palmetto,
and the DiMare Co.
In June of 2005, Angrisani and Jay Taylor and his brother, John Taylor, took
ownership control of Tomato Man when they together bought the half owned by
Tomato Man’s retired former co-owner, Bill O’Quinn.