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D'Ottavio Farms: Operating today with plans for the future

By
Seth Mendelson

The spring is shaping up very well at D’Ottavio Farms, thanks to a combination of cooler weather earlier in the season and warmer weather later on.

Officials at D’Ottavio, which was founded in 1903 by Callie D’Ottavio when he cleared 30 acres of land in south New Jersey with horses and dynamite to raise sweet potatoes and broccoli, expect the spring harvest to be strong for its growing number of fruits and vegetables.

truck“We could not ask for better weather this spring, with those cool temperatures early in the season for lettuce and then warm weather to help with pollination in the blueberries,” said Michael D’Ottavio, president of the Vineland, NJ-based operation. 

It is just a continuation of well-developed strategy that has seen D’Ottavio become a larger player in the produce industry and more committed to implementing the right measures to keep things moving in the right direction.

“As we continue to increase our acreage — organically and conventionally — at our blueberry farm located in Vineland NJ, we decided to purchase our first OXBO blueberry harvester to help keep up with the increase in acreage,” D’Ottavio added. “This machine along with our new packing line will ensure top quality blueberries picked at the peak of taste and quality.”

At the family business, the next generation is also getting involved, too. While Callie D’Ottavio started the ball rolling, Mike’s parents, Ronald and Elaine, took over the business in 1953 and started to diversify the crops and expand the acreage, Now, with more than 37 items raised on 1,200 acres in New Jersey and Florida, the next generation has its chance to participate and keep things moving forward.

“My son Anthony D’Ottavio has developed a good following for organic herbs such as basil, thyme, sage, rosemary, mint, oregano, tarragon and chives,” D’Ottavio added. “With a very strong demand last season, he decided to increase that farm by another 10 acres.”

The team is also planning for the future in other ways. D’Ottavio said that adding a fully-automated irrigation system along with planting on plastic to eliminate weeds, the company will have supplies early this spring.

“Elevating social responsibility is at the top of our list ensuring every worker is treated fairly and all workers have a voice,” he said. “We are extremely excited to work together with EFI (Equitable Food Initiative) and become certified for the 2024 season. With the highest level of food safety, state-of-the-art precooling, full traceability and our own dedicated trucking company we can ensure our customers that they are supporting a fifth generation farm that will always stay ahead of all the changes in our industry and will continue to farm for many more generations to come.”

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