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Record crop on tap this year for Oakes Farms

Fall 2019 is shaping up to be one for the record books at Oakes Farms.

“The fall crop is our best crop we ever had, the weather has been very hot, but overall it is still the best fall crop we have had. Our yield is up 15 to 18 percent right now,” said Steve Veneziano, president. Immokalee, FL-based Oakes Farms grows a wide assortment vegetables during the fall and winter months, including all kinds of specialty peppers, bell peppers, eggplant, winter squash, summer squash and tomatoes.

IMG 6747Mark Frisbee of Frisbee Farms.“Including our double crop in Florida, we are at a little over 2,100 acres, and we have 128 hectares of winter squash in Comaygua, Honduras,” Veneziano said.

In addition to its own acreage, Oakes Farms partners with other farmers.

“We farm on our own about 1,800 acres of the 2,100 acres total in Florida; we have two other partner growers that represent approximately 300 total acres,” Veneziano explained. “Frisbie Farms in Immokalee and Underground Farms in Plant City. Mark Frisbie specializes in eggplant and jalapeno peppers, and he grows roughly 25 percent of our eggplant volume. Our New Jersey partner, D’Ottavio Farms, is involved in our crop as he brings in all of his Florida product from the Oakes and D’Ottavio partnership farm until their Vineland, N.J., farm kicks in for the summer.”

To keep up with consumer and industry trends, Oakes Farms continues to expand its bagged program, as well as its foodservice custom packs, available in one-, two- and five-pound, as well as other customized configurations.

Oakes Farms distributes across the U.S. and Canada.

“A large portion of our Canadian presence is with our partner Veg Pak Ltd. We have been partners up there and our product is exclusively available in Ontario through Veg Pak,” Veneziano said.

There are several key reasons why an increasing number of retailers, wholesalers and foodservice professionals seek out Oakes Farms peppers, eggplants, tomatoes and squash.

“We are the sole shipper in Florida that has as many commodities as we offer,” Veneziano said. “We are a one stop shop and we pack specialty extra fancygrades that don’t even exist on the USDA Guidebook. We are the sole shipper in Florida at this time providing both display ready and mini display ready packages of chili peppers.”

Oakes Farms’ Grower-Packer-Shipper division operates out of five industrial buildings encompassing more than 138,000 square feet in Eastern Collier County. In addition to managing multiple crop cycles, the division oversees several packing houses that pack and manufacture over 475 custom packing containers, a fleet of 37 temperature-controlled semi trucks, and over 1,000 independent truck drivers that deliver to distribution points across the United States.