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Marolda Farms getting more into organics

vineland, nj — Marolda Farms was handling a variety of produce items in early May as New Jersey’s 2019 spring produce deal was getting underway, according to Richard Marolda Jr.

“It was a pretty mild winter, and it was nice that it didn’t damage our over-wintered crops,” Marolda told The Produce News Tuesday morning May 7. “When it’s not a brutal winter, it’s easier to get motivated for the new season.”

Among the items that the company was already handling were turnip greens, mustard greens, cilantro, dill, mint and methi.

Marolda6321Richard Marolda Jr. of Marolda Farms with New Jersey cilantro. Photo by Gordon M. Hochberg.“And we’re about to start with some organic greens this weekend,” such as swiss chard, dandelion and cilantro. “And cole crops are not far behind.”

Marolda Farms, located here in the southern part of the state, is owned and operated by Richard Marolda Sr. and his wife, Sherry. Richard Marolda Jr. (their son) is the production manager and also spearheads the company’s organic program; those products are shipped under the “Rock & Roll Organics” label.

To go along with its conventional acreage, the company last year had about 65 acres of certified organic acreage, but Marolda expects to have closer to 90 acres this year.

“Last year I started getting involved in organic grains,” he stated. “This year I’ll have organic wheat, and I plan to get involved in an organic soybean crop this year. I’m also going to try to do some organic watermelon and organic hard squash.”

Asked why he was moving more into the organic field, he replied, “It seems like there’s a lot more opportunity to sell product in the organic market. It also seems that the ethnic sector of the market is more important to pay attention to. We’re trying to anticipate what the next popular ethnic item is going to be.”

He added, “We’re trying to anticipate the next new thing rather than react to it. We’re trying to be conscious of the new trends in produce.”

In light of the ongoing tight labor situation, the company is also “still exploring the viability of mechanization in the field, trying to see what might help our organization,” he said.