Loading…

Ron Budd looking forward to New Jersey potato season

ronbudd Rob Budd, vice president of Gloucester County Packing Corp., is looking forward to handling New Jersey potatoes, which should be harvested perhaps a week later than normal, depending on the weather over the next few weeks and months.

“We actually got an early start planting compared to normal,” Budd told The Produce News Tuesday afternoon, May 5.

“The first potatoes were planted on March 18, which is about two weeks earlier than normal,” he said. “The temperatures were indicative of planting, and the soil conditions were just right.”

However, he added, “Since then we’ve had some cooler and damper conditions than normal, and planting is hopefully going to wrap up this week. So the planting has been staggered mainly due to weather conditions -— which is not a horrible thing. It’s not normal, but we don’t harvest all the potatoes at the same time, so they don’t have to be planted at the same time.”

Asked to estimate when the harvests would begin this year, Budd replied, “The early plants are just starting to emerge now, and that puts us probably about one week behind our normal start dates. [But] it’s still early, and this crop can make up some time if we get some warm weather. So my best guess is the red and white varieties will start sometime between July 15-20, the yellows July 20 and russets August 10.”

On the topic of potato acreage, Budd noted, “Our acreage remains pretty consistent, right around 2,000 acres in the state of New Jersey. And that hasn’t changed too much over the last few years.”

Gloucester County Packing Corp., headquartered in Woodbury, NJ, does not grow any product itself, but its 45,000-square-foot facility packs, distributes and handles potatoes and onions from all over the United States and beyond.

In the spring, however, its focus turns to potatoes from its home state.

“We’ll be promoting the Jersey Fresh potato program again this year with the similar theme of Know Your Food, Know Your Farmer, putting a place and a face with the potatoes that you’re buying,” he said.

That well-received program continues to take advantage of the desire by consumers for locally grown product.

“The Jersey Fresh program is very well recognized,” he stated. “A lot of retailers do promotions in the early summer, and we’ll be one of the Jersey Fresh commodities that are available.”

In addition to potatoes, Gloucester County Packing Corp. has an imported sweet onion deal.

“Peruvian onions run generally from August through February, then Mexico and Texas in March and April,” said Budd. “That’s still a key portion of our over all business here.”

He added, “We’ve gotten a little bit into shallots,” which are imported from France. The company also is handling beets and garlic from France as well as horseradish from Hungary.

“My brother Bob, my nephew David and myself oversee the repack operation,” he noted. “My father, Dave, still looks after the processing side.”

Asked about the COVID-19 situation, Budd said, “We take one day at a time. My brother has spent numerous hours learning about the virus and implementing a plan to minimize the exposure to all the employees here. He’s put together a pretty good manual.

The company is following all the federal and state guidelines, “and the local department of health has even given us some guidance on packaging of fresh fruits and vegetables as well,” he said. “All the employees in the office and the warehouse are wearing masks. They’ve been very good about that.”

Photo: Ron Budd of Gloucester County Packing Corp.

Students gain real world experience thanks to L&M internships
The future of the produce industry will depend largely on new people being introduced to the field, which is why L&M Cos. offers internships based on seasonal needs throughout the L&M farms, warehouses and sales teams. “Intern programs in fresh produce are great exposure for young people to be a part of a vital industry,” Read More ...
New Whole Foods Market features 75 local growers
Whole Foods Market recently opened a new 35,000-square-foot store in East Austin, TX. Special features of the new East Austin store include: Produce department offering a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, including selections from about 75 local growers throughout the year including fresh flowers, peaches and Read More ...
Retailer announces plans to rebuild
CUB and its franchise partner Jerry’s Foods announced its commitment to the Minneapolis community to rebuild its Broadway Avenue and Lake Street stores, both of which are owned by Jerry’s Foods. CUB also announced that while those two locations remain closed, CUB plans to open temporary community stores at each location to Read More ...
Sun World takes firm stance on IP rights breach
California-based variety development and licensing company Sun World International LLC has reached settlement of a dispute with a prominent Australian table grape producer (and associated entities) within the Sunraysia region. This follows breaches of Sun World’s intellectual property and contractual rights discovered Read More ...
Fall Creek names regional director for Mexico
Fall Creek Farm & Nursery Inc., a global blueberry breeding and nursery company, has announced that Alberto Medina-Mora has joined the company as regional director for Mexico. Most recently, Medina-Mora served as senior director of development and innovation at NatureSweet Mexico, a vertically integrated tomato grower, Read More ...

Market Watch

the source pro-act

Western growing regions getting hit by rain, cooler temps

floral pulse