Formisano, Nardelli bet big on kale

Two New Jersey grower-shippers have increased their kale production significantly this season.

Cedarville, N.J.-based Nardelli Bros. Inc. has ramped up production of its kale in a big way, president Bill Nardelli said.

“The popularity of kale has grown by 50-fold over the past winter,” he said.

The reason? A certain TV doctor who boasts an audience of millions who hang on his every word.

When Dr. Oz started talking up kale on his show last year, it wasn’t long before requests started pouring in, Nardelli said.

“No one had anticipated it,” he said. “It caught some of us asleep and created a shortage.”

Kale typically can be harvested 80 to 90 days after being planted, Nardelli said.

Smoothies and potato-like chips are among the popular uses for kale, he said.


Freshwave Fruit adds berry acreage

Freshwave Fruit & Produce LLC, Vineland, N.J. expects its New Jersey blueberry acreage to grow by 35% this season after the addition of two new growers, president Skip Consalo said.

The company is in the second year of its partnership with Alma, Ga.-based Farmer John, also a blueberry grower and Freshwave’s first blueberry partner in Georgia.

Consalo said the company is the exclusive distributor of that fruit, and that it’s been a good deal for Freshwave.

Both years, he said, have been affected by weather, but the company has overcome adversity.

Freshwave markets Farmer John berries from about April 15 through June. Freshwave also contracts with growers in Florida and North Carolina.


Graiff Farms expands, adds spring mix

Newfield, N.J.-based Daniel Graiff Farms LLC expects to break ground on a 15,000-square-foot expansion of its packinghouse in late June or early July, said Jamie Graiff, partner and sales manager.

The revamped facility will feature coolers capable of holding six loads worth of product and a new wash line, Graiff said.

Graiff planned to go to Italy in June to look at modernized wash lines for the facility, which could be up and running by October or November.

Recent company growth made the addition a necessity, Graiff said.

“Our packing capacity is at the max now,” he said.

Also new at Graiff Farms, the company plans to ship Jersey-grown spring mix, Graiff said.