Blueberries synonymous with Consalo name
Consalo Family Farms is delighted to be known for blueberries.
“Year after year we have continuously provided a high quality supply of fruit,” said Chelsea Consalo, executive vice president for the Vineland, NJ-based company. “We are very proud to be a family-owned operation that has upheld continuity of supply in the blueberry category for decades. I am personally very passionate about our blueberry farms and spend my summer managing our New Jersey operation.”
Even as a kid, Consalo knew blueberries were synonymous with her family’s name.
“We were founded in 1927 and I entered the family business immediately after graduating from college in 2014,” she said. “I started out working in food safety and in 2015, made my way into the farming operations sector of our business, primarily blueberries. I found love for the produce industry on the blueberry farm and became thoroughly invested in my career through development of opportunities there.”
To that end, Consalo is very involved, both locally and nationally, with blueberries as treasurer of the New Jersey Blueberry Growers Association, a member of the New Jersey Blueberry Industry Advisory Council, a member of the North American Blueberry Council’s board of directors and a member of the United States Highbush Blueberry Council’s Food Safety Task Force.
“I am thoroughly involved in the campaigns to market blueberries to consumers as the world’s favorite fruit with all of my roles,” she said. “In New Jersey, one of the hit campaigns has been the boardwalk giveaways of blueberries. The Jersey Fresh team visits boardwalks to distribute pints of blueberries along with other summer giveaways.”
Consalo Family Farms is entirely vertically integrated. The company manages its supply chain from the farm through distribution.
“We have full control over our product and control over quality,” Consalo said. “This has enabled us to become successful in the blueberry category because our family monitors the quality of product at all stages. When we put the Consalo name on our fruit, we ensure it is premium.”
Weather during pollination this year was favorable so the team at Consalo Family Farms expects the season to start early, probably before last year’s start date of June 8.
“The weather is one of the biggest challenges in the blueberry segment, but input costs have also increased significantly over the past two years,” Consalo said.
In 2023, Consalo Family Farms has been working on expanding its acreage in organic blueberries.
“With the addition of new acreage in organic vegetables, we felt that it was important for us to continue to diversify in blueberries as well,” Consalo said.
The company has also recently added new sorting equipment to its Egg Harbor City, NJ blueberry packing facility, which it hopes will maximize efficiency during the upcoming season.
The newly added machinery not only has increased accuracy, but more dynamic sensors, and four times the resolution of the machines used in 2022.
Packaging is something that the company puts a lot of thought and effort into. In addition to the traditional blueberry pack styles they offer, pints, 6-ounce, 11-ounce, 18-ounce, and 2-pound clamshells, Consalo also offers top seal packs.
“Top seal packaging is an eco-friendly option as it contains 35 percent less plastic than a traditional clamshell,” Consalo said. “The top seal punnet and film are more expensive and we have continued to take on the increased costs of that pack style so we can offer it as an attractive option to retailers.”