FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. — A new vegetable processing facility will be constructed in the western part of Flagler County, Fla., the Flagler County Commission has announced.
Barbara Revels, chair of the Flagler County Commission and also chair of Flagler County''s Economic Opportunity Advisory Council, revealed that WP Rawl, a company that specializes in growing, processing and shipping vegetables, is to invest in a new vegetable processing plant in Flagler County. The company, which is based in Pelion, S.C., has commissioned Cline Construction to build a 34,000 sq ft facility on County Road 105.
The plant is already under construction, and is scheduled to be completed in late spring or summer next year. The fully enclosed facility will process produce from WP Rawl''s own fields. Vegetables will be brought to the plant, where they will be rinsed, frozen, packaged and stored in the refrigerated rooms until they are shipped. This is not the first processing plant for WP Rawl, which operates two similar sites in Pelion, S.C. and in Mississippi.
However, the vegetable processing facility does not mark the beginning of WP Rawl''s business in Florida. The company has been participating in the state''s agriculture industry through contract farming but the new plant will make its presence more prominent and will give it the opportunity to supply its customers throughout the whole year. Ashley Rawl, sales and marketing director at WP Rawl, commented that Flagler County and the state of Florida are of strategic importance for the development of the company. The new plant will facilitate distribution and provide the organization with a chance to improve its service, Rawl explained.
Flagler County Commission noted that the food processing plant will not be the only one in the area, as another vegetable shipping facility has been functioning just a few miles from WR Rawl''s construction site. The facility is run by Hollar and Greene Produce Company and has recently been expanded by adding two new coolers and packing lines for mixed and southern vegetables.
Bringing another major vegetable processing business to Flagler County is evidence that agriculture is among the top priorities for the area, Revels commented. She added that the county is delighted to welcome a company that focuses on sustainability to achieve success and will try to assist the business to expand its local operation further.
Helga van Eckert, executive director of Flagler County''s Department of Opportunity and the Economic Opportunity Advisory Council, also said that agriculture is an industry that the county is targeting to develop. Flagler County is a major supplier of cabbage and potatoes for the U.S. market during the winter season. Apart from vegetable produce, the county invests in timber and cattle. According to the latest USDA Agricultural Census from 2007, the total value of products grown and raised in Flagler County adds up to more than $35 million.