Tag: Food and Agriculture

New B&M Meats Chooses Delaware for $18M Food Production Facility

New B&M Meats Chooses Delaware as Home for Expanded Production, Diversified Product Offerings

B&M Philly Steaks new food production facility

Will Add 80,000 Square Foot Production Facility and 190 New Food Production Jobs and Help Rejuvenate Wilmington’s Seventh Street Peninsula

WILMINGTON, Del. — New B&M Meats Inc., a leading manufacturer of raw sandwich steaks and chicken steaks in the Northeast United States, is expanding in the City of Wilmington and will invest more than $18 million in the construction of a new 80,000 square-foot food production facility and add 190 new jobs to the city’s food production industry sector over the next several years.

Delaware Prosperity Partnership – Delaware’s nonprofit public-private economic development organization – and Wilmington’s Office of Economic Development began working with New B&M Meats in 2020 to help the company evaluate scenarios for combining operations in the region to achieve its expansion goals.

New B&M Meats presented before the state Council for Development Finance today to request grant funding from the Delaware Strategic Fund. Approval for the grants by the Council helped solidify the company’s decision to grow its Delaware presence through expansion of its current Wilmington location and construction of a new food production facility nearby.

“I want to thank B&M Meats for their commitment to our state and choosing to expand their production in the City of Wilmington,” said Governor John Carney. “These new jobs will support Delaware workers and their families. This announcement once again proves that Delaware is a great place for companies to grow.”

New B&M Meats currently employs 98 people in Wilmington. The company will use a Performance Grant of $195,975 to add 70 jobs to support organic growth at its existing Commerce Street location. The new facility will be completed along East Seventh Street on three parcels of land totaling 10 acres with support from a Capital Expenditure Grant of $555,300. A second Performance Grant of $359,450 will help the company add another 120 jobs at the new site to support increased production capacity, diversified product offerings and operational expansion through entry into new markets. The company plans to start construction on the new facility in 2022 and open it in late 2023 or early 2024.

“We are very excited to welcome New B&M Meats to Wilmington as the company expands to the Seventh Street Peninsula, producing nearly 200 new jobs in the coming years,” said Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki. “Together with Light Action Production’s new multi-million-dollar sound stage and the new CP Furniture factory, B&M Meats will augment the Seventh Street Peninsula’s unique blend of business park and historic cultural amenities. My thanks to the Delaware Prosperity Partnership as well as Jeff Flynn and his team in Wilmington’s Office of Economic Development for helping to see this project through to fruition. It is just one more example of how Wilmington is on the move, continuing to attract new businesses, jobs, and residents to all parts of our city.”

By 2026, New B&M Meats projects total employment of 288 people between the two Wilmington facilities. New positions will include production line workers; operators; maintenance and production supervisors; and shippers/handlers. The company is currently hiring for positions at the Commerce Street location, and interviews will begin in late 2023 or early 2024 for the Seventh Street facility.

“As one of the largest Philly steak manufacturers in the country, we’re excited to grow our presence in the rapidly growing and vibrant Wilmington community,” said Steve Realbuto, president. “With a strong pool of talent, supportive local and state government, and proximity to critical transportation routes, Delaware is a great place for a manufacturing company to do business.”

“As we were looking for the site of our next facility, the City of Wilmington and State of Delaware were true partners every step of the way,” said Chris Linteris, CFO. “Jeff Flynn assisted us throughout the entire process, from searching for land and planning for development, he provided key introductions to local vendors and stakeholders. We would also like to thank our banking partner, ConnectOne Bank, for support of our continued growth. With these critical partnerships, we plan to continue our investment in the community and develop additional projects in the coming years.”

“B&M is a shining example of the critical role small and mid-size businesses play in fueling the local economies in which they operate,” said Elizabeth Magennis, president of ConnectOne Bank. “We are proud to support B&M in this exciting endeavor – a client committed to creating opportunities to enhance local communities through its own growth and expansion.”

About Delaware Prosperity Partnership

Delaware Prosperity Partnership leads Delaware’s economic development efforts to attract, grow and retain businesses; to build a stronger entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem; and to support private employers in identifying, recruiting, and developing talent. The DPP team works with site selectors, executives and developers focused on where to locate or grow a business and helps with reviewing potential sites, cost-of-living analyses and funding opportunities, including available tax credits and incentives. DPP advances a culture of innovation in Delaware, working with innovators and startups to spotlight and celebrate successes and connect them with the resources they need to succeed. DPP and its partnerships throughout Delaware support and advance the missions of companies of all sizes and sectors.

About New B&M Meats Inc.

Delaware-based New B&M Meats Inc. is part of the Wonder Meats family of businesses, which also includes Brooklyn Provisions, Broad Street Butcher, Lindee Corned Beef and Nations Best Deli Meats. Wonder Meats began as a family-owned storefront butcher shop in New York City in 1971 and has been based in Carlstadt, New Jersey, since 1994. Company President Steve Realbuto, whose father, Santo Realbuto, opened that first butcher shop 40 years ago, acquired B&M Meats in 2016.

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Suzuki Farm Enters the Next Level of Japanese Produce Business

Delmar’s Suzuki Farm Entering Next Level of Japanese Produce Business With Purchase by Food’s Style USA

produce business delaware Suzuki Farms

Fresh, local produce is a point of pride for the Delmarva Peninsula, which is known for corn, tomatoes, watermelons, lima beans and soybeans. Large farms supply ingredients for poultry feed, while boutique growers deliver to restaurants and frequent farm markets.

But one Delmar-area farm has quietly cornered a niche market — not only in Delaware but also along the East Coast. Suzuki Farms is the rare grower of Japanese herbs, vegetables and citrus.

Japanese Produce Business a Labor of Love

For decades, the produce business has been a labor of love for Ken Suzuki, who was born in Gamagori, Aichi Prefecture, Japan. To take the business to the next level, he turned to Seattle-based Food’s Style USA Inc., which acquired the farm in February 2021. The new owner has hit the ground running.

“We are planning to build a new packing facility and greenhouses to grow more produce and maintain better quality,” says Takahiro Igo, vice president of Food’s Style.

As a result, Delaware may become just as famous for shiso and shishito peppers as it is for chickens.

Spotting a Need

Suzuki, a trained chick sexer, and wife Kumiko came to the United States in 1974 to work for Perdue Farms. Unable to find high-quality, affordable Japanese produce, he began growing his own on a small farm. The hobby wasn’t a stretch: Suzuki had attended an agricultural high school in Japan.

Even so, it wasn’t easy. The fledgling farmer quickly learned that rabbits like edamame, and although the area weather is similar to that in the Miyagi prefecture, Mid-Atlantic cold snaps can wipe out a crop. But Suzuki persisted and, after 20 years in Parsonsburg, Maryland, moved to a Delmar, Delaware, farm.

After Perdue changed its chick sexing methods, Suzuki turned his pastime into a business. However, specializing in Japanese produce requires meticulous attention to detail. For discerning restaurateurs and wholesalers, each yuzu, daikon radish or mustard green must be as beautiful as it is tasty.

Suzuki Farms japanese produce delawareAmong the 30-plus crops are Japanese radish, Napa cabbage, edamame, eggplant and peppers. The bestseller is Tokyo scallion, which is thicker and sweeter than conventional supermarket scallions. Suzuki Farms also sells to individuals, who can order online.

The Perfect Match

In his 70s, Suzuki was looking for the next generation of ownership for his farm. Meanwhile, Food’s Style sought to diversify. Like the entire hospitality industry, the company’s Hokkaido Ramen Santouka restaurants in Washington, Massachusetts and Virginia were hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We were looking for an opportunity to either take over a business or start a farm of our own,” Igo explains. “‘Stay home’ made people more curious about food safety.”

Mutual contacts put Food’s Style and Suzuki Farm in touch. “We learned that he is popular and famous on the East Coast,” Igo says. “He has been doing business for a long time.”

The founder is staying on to help train employees in the proper techniques. Since the farm is now at production capacity, Food’s Style will be working to increase the output. That means more machinery, more greenhouses and a new packing facility.

It also means cultivating more land. The farm currently has about 35 cultivated acres, and there is room for more fields. Nevertheless, Igo envisions the need for additional acres — hopefully in Delaware.

“Delaware’s state and county agencies,” he notes, “are very friendly to communicate with and very helpful to the small local businesses.”

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Rob Rider Leads O.A. Newton to Record Growth

Rob Rider Leads O.A. Newton to Record Growth

1 October, 2021  LiveLoveDelaware.com

O.A. Newton CEO Rob Rider

For a business that has constantly reinvented itself over its 104 years in business, O.A. Newton & Son CEO Rob Rider doesn’t even pause when asked about his company’s elevator speech.

“We’re in two businesses – irrigation and farm and ranch products for a local customer base (Delmarva) and engineered material-handling systems on a national and international level,” says the fourth-generation leader (his grandfather Warren Newton was the “& Sons”).

Where many other Delaware businesses have struggled to survive during the pandemic, Rider says his company has been challenged to keep up as its building-product clients experience record sales and look to expand. For Rider, COVID 19 has been a business accelerant that has helped him grow revenues and move from 30 employees to nearly 40.

“Because we’re involved in both manufacturing and agriculture, we have been considered essential from the start, so we never laid anyone off,” he says. “At the beginning, we were getting ready to start a pretty large [composite decking] project and [the client] wouldn’t let us on site for a month. But that turned out to be a blessing because we were a bit behind schedule, and it allowed us to catch up and get the project back on schedule.”

Big box stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s saw a jump in business as homebound Delawareans decided to start or move forward with projects. As a result, demand for PVC pipe and fencing, vinyl siding, and wood composite decking stayed very strong.

At the same time, O.A. Newton continued to expand a longtime relationship with Miller Metal Fabrication, which leases space from Rider’s company.

“We decided 14 years ago that we didn’t need our employees doing the sheet metal fabrication for our products,” Rider says. “Miller Metal has developed a lot of advanced manufacturing to make our products better at a lower cost.”

For example, a few years ago, O.A. Newton identified a bottleneck in its production process involving a “spray and bake” painting process called powder coating that Miller Metal has been able to resolve. But Rider says client demand for the service has led them to offer the service to others from Harrington as an additional business.

“It’s not innovative and it’s not a new product,” Rider says. “You need to pay attention to what customers are asking for and then meeting the demand. It might only involve six or eight customers but there’s huge volume and we’ll be able to meet the demand together. You have to be ready to adapt.”

That discussion swung around to a question about O.A. Newton’s legacy after more than a century in Sussex County. The company got its start developing a feed for chickens that led to greater egg production, which led to feed-milling and chicken-breeding businesses. Beyond that, there is a dizzying list of businesses that Rob’s father Bob and then Rob himself started in response to customer needs and opportunities that they saw.

The commitment to innovation and being nimble led O.A. Newton to begin building conveyor belts to move the feed they milled in the 1950s. That led to the creation of conveying systems for companies that make plastic pipe and siding and decking and then to offering replacement parts and service when the recession slowed new construction. The company sold the poultry business was sold in 1969, and a parts counter became the O.A. Newton Farm and Ranch Store, essentially a specialty hardware store that recognized the changing demographics in Sussex and Kent counties from fewer large farms to more farmettes and hobby farms.

“As you can imagine, with our market being building products, the recession decimated our customers,” Rider says. “We had to really retrench and rebuild our business. When the housing bubble burst, it forced out a lot of inefficient manufacturing and we’ve seen steady growth since.”

The desire to stay nimble has led O.A. Newton to form partnerships with companies that have what they need, need what they have, or offer the scale to help them sell their products.

Rob Rider Remains an Unbashed Delaware Supporter

Since the start of the pandemic, the company has grown from 30 to nearly 40. Through it all, Rider has remained an unabashed Delaware supporter.

“Delaware has always been an easy place to do business,” he says. “Labor is easy to deal with and it’s easy to get answers. I can’t say that it’s always wonderful from a regulatory standpoint – that’s one of the things we need to work on — but it’s better than most. We’d never consider moving because of the experience we’ve had here.”

O.A. Newton recently shut down branch locations that served retail customers in New Jersey and New York for about 10 years because the “headache of doing business in those states wasn’t worth it. They weren’t terrible experiences, but in both cases, we just decided it wasn’t the right fit for us.”

Rider says he talks to people all the time who are considering renting space in his buildings or buying real estate to build themselves.

“I tell them we have a great workforce and the process to get located here from beginning to end is as easy and convenient as you’re going to get,” he says, adding that he completely supports the efforts of Bob Perkins and the Delaware Business Roundtable’s Ready in Six initiative to accelerate the permitting process.

Before ending the interview, Rider elaborated on his answer about the company’s legacy.

“I would hope that people are saying we’re keeping up with the times and exceeding their expectations, maintaining our relevance in today’s world,” says Rider. “Legacy to me really means reputation and one of the things that is more important than anything is being fair to our customers, our employees, and our community – pretty much in that order.”

“If we are not equally caring for all three of those stakeholders, then we’re not going to continue to exist. When we make decisions, we think about the impact tomorrow and 10 years from now.”

This article was originally posted on LiveLoveDelaware.com at: https://www.livelovedelaware.com/rob-rider-leads-o-a-newton-to-record-growth/

Kurt Foreman


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No State Builds Pathways from High School to Jobs as well as Delaware Does: Opinion

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No State Builds Pathways from High School to Jobs as well as Delaware Does: Opinion

7 NOVEMBER, 2019

How can it be that with the lowest unemployment rate in anyone’s memory, the U.S. still has 6.9 jobs seeking workers and 6.3 workers seeking jobs?

There is no single answer, but a big part of the problem is the skills gap – not enough workers with the right skills, especially to fill middle-skill jobs in such fields as health care, IT, and advanced manufacturing.

Many states are building pipeline programs to address this gap, programs that begin in high school, connect to post secondary institutions, and work with employers to ensure that students have the right skills to fill in-demand jobs that can get them launched on fulfilling careers.

No state does this as well as Delaware.

Over these past six years, Delaware has, from a standing start, created a statewide career pathways system that has become a model for the nation. Delaware has grown from 27 students enrolled in an advanced manufacturing program in 2014 to 16,000 students across the state currently enrolled in 25 career pathways in 12 high-growth, high-demand sectors of the state’s economy.

The state is on track to meet its goal of enrolling 20,000 students — half the high school population — in career pathways by 2020.

Delaware’s story is the lead chapter in a new book just published by Harvard Education Press, “Career Pathways in Action: Case Studies from the Field,” written by Nancy Hoffman and myself. This book, and the case study of Delaware Pathways, will be featured in a session at the upcoming annual Vision Coalition Conference Tuesday, Nov. 12 at the University of Delaware.

In a few short years, Delaware Pathways has transformed the education landscape. Career pathways match students’ interests with tailored instruction and relevant work-based learning experiences, and award industry-recognized credentials and college credits while students are still in high school.

These pathways provide on and off ramps for the full spectrum of options. A young person on a health care pathway could use it to decide: a) to become a certified nursing assistant so she can start earning some money while she weighs her options; b) to start working toward becoming a medical doctor; or c) that it isn’t the right field.

The goal is to give program participants enough early exposure to the world of work and careers to make informed decisions about what comes next after high school.

How has Delaware been able to build such a robust career pathways system in such a short time? The secret is partnership.

The collaboration among statewide entities like the departments of Education and Labor, Delaware Technical Community College, the United Way, Rodel and a network of private employers large and small led to the development of a compelling strategic plan specifying the roles and responsibilities of each partner.

This cross-agency structure is unusually strong, and a dedicated core team from the partner organizations has stuck together to implement that plan.

Delaware Pathways is not without its challenges, including the provision of meaningful work-based learning opportunities for all participants and the development of a long-range funding plan.

But with Gov. John Carney leading the effort to bring more employers to the table, the first challenge is being addressed, and given the broad-based political support for the program, I’m confident the funding challenge will be addressed as well.

Delaware, you are currently building what many believe is the most scalable and replicable career pathways model in the nation.

Keep pushing.

The leaders of the other 15 state and regional members of the Pathways Network are all pulling for you because what you build here could not only help your young people, but benefit their peers in states across the United States.

— Robert Schwartz is a professor emeritus of practice in educational policy and administration at Harvard Graduate School of Education and co-founder of the Pathways to Prosperity Network.

Kurt Foreman


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Agribusiness: An Up-Close Look at Delaware’s Farms

Agribusiness: An up-close look at Delaware’s farms

7 OCTOBER, 2019

In September, the Delaware Prosperity Partnership (DPP) led its second ag tour, connecting local entrepreneurs and researchers to farmers and other agtech stakeholders to learn from one another and problem solve.

The group started at the Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA), where they were greeted by Ag Secretary Michael Scuse, then they visited Fifer Orchards in Camden. Bobby Fifer, one of the owner/operators of the farm addressed the group, shared challenges that the farm faces in terms of business and technology and fielded questions from the group. Ed Kee, DPP Board member and former Ag Secretary, also answered questions and spurred on the discussion.

Sec. Kee then led the group to visit farmer Brandon Bonk, who took a break from harvesting corn in one of his fields outside of Frederica to answer questions from the group, ranging from the breadth of technology inside the cab of his combine harvester, to the types of cover crops he uses to seed his fields when not in primary use. Bonk, who farms nearly 5,000 acres with only a modest staff, uses a sophisticated operation to handle the breadth of acreage.

Entrepreneurs and researchers were able to have direct access to farmers and relevant stakeholders to gather information. This is the second farm tour led by DPP, and is part of our organization’s commitment to the AgTech and Ag community in Delaware.

For more information and/or to participate in the next tour (Likely in Spring 2020) email scoulby@choosedelaware.com.

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White Dog Labs and Cargill Team up to Offer Sustainable Fish Feed

White Dog Labs and Cargill team up to offer sustainable fish feed


Cargill, the global agricultural supply company, has entered an agreement with Newark-based White Dog Labs to develop sustainable alternatives to fishmeal in aqua feed.

The deal gives Cargill access to ProTyton, a patented single-cell protein developed by White Dog Labs that is produced by fermentation with corn feedstock.

The protein is set to ship out from White Dog Labs’ demo facility in Sutherland, Nebraska in 2020.

“This agreement underlines our commitment to sustainable aquaculture and discovering new and strategic ingredients that will help feed the world in a safe and responsible way,” said Adriano Marcon, president of Cargill’s aqua nutrition business. “ProTyton offers a good source of protein for fish and shrimp, an affordable feed ingredient for farmers and a sustainable option for the planet that lessens our reliance on fishmeal—which we know to be a finite resource.”

Starting off Cargill will offer ProTyton in salmon feed, with shrimp and other species on the horizon. In trials, salmon fed a diet containing ProTyton™ achieved a growth performance comparable to salmon on a conventional diet.

“We’re honored to partner with Cargill to lead the industry in the application of highly scalable, alternative proteins for aquaculture,” said Bryan Tracy, chief executive officer, White Dog Labs.

The agreement follows another collaboration for White Dog Labs. This summer the firm announced a strategic partnership with InnovaFeed to scale up and jointly market fish feed made with insect protein.

This article was originally posted on the Delaware Business Times at: https://www.delawarebusinesstimes.com/white-dog-labs-sustainable-fish-feed/

Kurt Foreman


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