New Jersey growers agree greens are at the top of the list for fresh produce now.
Jamie Graiff, co-owner of Newfield, N.J.-based Daniel Graiff Farms LLC., said he has seen a lot of interest for “super greens” such as kale.
“Right now the big kick is kale. Everyone wants baby kale or chopped kale,” he said.
He has seen the trendy green added to smoothies, salads and pretty much anything consumers can think of.
“It’s the new trend. It’s everywhere,” he said.
In response, Graiff said the company is starting to work on adding kale to its product list.
“We’re going into it a little bit this season. We’re just starting to play with it now,” he said.
Ryan Flaim, of R&R Flaim Next Generation Produce LLC, Vineland, N.J., said he has seen kale and other greens, including all types of lettuce, increase in popularity over the past several years.
“It’s been a steady rise,” he said.
Fresh herbs like cilantro are also popular.
“As far as what particular commodities are popular, it correlates directly to the population, and here, cilantro is popular now. There are a lot of ethnic groups that use that, and the rest of the population has really embraced those trends and begun using it at home as well,” said Bill Nardelli, president of Cedarville, N.J.-based Nardelli Bros. Inc.
Other specialties are also important to the New Jersey market.
“A lot of new upscale restaurants are featuring fresh vegetables as part of these ethnic traditions, which is a really big push for us,” Nardelli said.
Flaim agreed international trends influence produce demand.
“We’ve seen demand rise for Asian vegetables,” he said.
Lynne Richmond, public information officer for the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, said creative uses of local produce are becoming more popular as chefs begin to put emphasis on vegetables moving to the center of the plate. She said cauliflower is one trendy vegetable right now.
Local produce is one of the strongest trends in the area, despite increases in organic demand or specific commodities.