Eastern Fresh boosts asparagus

Cedarville, N.J.-based Eastern Fresh Growers Inc. has more asparagus acreage this year, including 50 acres cut for the first time this year and 25 that will be cut for the first time next year, said Tom Sheppard, president.

“That will increase our asparagus acreage up to 350,” he said.

Because of these increases, the company will have a couple of new squash growers working with it this year.

“Because we’re expanding the asparagus, we don’t have the acres for summer squash, so we’re working with these companies to get all their food safety audits in place so they can partner with us,” Sheppard said.

In addition, the company has begun shipping organic asparagus for Jersey Legacy Farms. In the past, Eastern Fresh sold the produce for Jersey Legacy, so this will add one more step.

Sheppard said the company was using a new box for asparagus this year, designed by his daughter, Maggie Sheppard, who recently graduated with an advertising degree from Rowan University and went to work for a local business in addition to helping with the farm.


Daniel Graiff Farms expands space

Newfield, N.J.-based Daniel Graiff Farms LLC recently completed a 17,000-square-foot facility, said Jamie Graiff, co-owner.

The new building houses a wash line from Europe for washing greens.

It also includes an indoor cooler that will accommodate up to six loads of raw product, as well as a shipping cooler, he said.

“We were able to increase packing capacity and food safety through this addition,” Graiff said.

The building opened in March and Graiff has been pleased with the results so far.


Jersey Fresh program gears up

The Jersey Fresh program is in its 30th year and will soon be kicking off its annual ad campaign, said Lynne Richmond, public information officer for the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.

This year, the campaign will include TV, radio and print ads, as well as bus wraps on New Jersey transit buses in areas from Newark to Trenton. It will also use social media.

Despite cuts in promotional funding over the years, Jersey Fresh, one of the first state promotional efforts, has seen continued success.

“The program is almost legendary in its approval and endorsement,” said Peter Furey, executive director of the New Jersey Farm Bureau, who said funding was over a million dollars at its highest, but is now around $150,000.

“We are very proud of our Jersey Fresh website that provides free promotion of produce businesses,” Richmond said.


Nardelli Bros. in growth mode

Bill Nardelli, president of Cedarville, N.J.-based Nardelli Bros. Inc., said the company, which has been in business for more than 100 years, is growing.

It is completing an addition to the front office that will allow for more staff in accounting and distribution.

Nardelli’s sons, Bill Jr. and Jimmy, are also involved in the business now.

Bill Jr. has served as vice president of sales for the past three years and Jimmy is finishing his degree at University of Delaware before he will join his family at the company.

“We’re getting younger help, which is refreshing and rewarding as a father to have my sons here with me. It’s been a great experience to watch the company continue to grow,” Nardelli said.

The company is working to add another facility that will be announced later this year.

“The total increase will be between 50,000 and 75,000 square feet, in addition to the several thousand square feet we already have, so we’re continuing to expand and grow,” Nardelli said.