Consalo Family Farms continues to expand
Consalo Family Farms is a vertically integrated grower, packer, shipper, importer, and distributor and has been in the produce industry since 1927. The family-run company grows a full line of produce in New Jersey.
“Our company’s history started four generations ago,” said Chelsea Consalo, executive vice president of the Vineland, NJ-based company. “Consalo Family Farms became universally recognized in the New Jersey area first for dedication to growing healthy, quality fruit and vegetables.”
Consalo Family Farms grows New Jersey blueberries, wet vegetables, herbs, cooking greens, salad items, eggplant, peppers and squash, primarily for retailers.
“Year round, we also offer these items along with citrus,” Consalo said. “Our continued growth has been made possible by farming expansions and by the fact that we continue to offer the freshest, highest quality varieties. We distribute our items in both the United States and Canada allowing local New Jersey produce a national and international reach.”
In 2021, the company opened a new cold storage and packing facility at its headquarters. On the tail of this expansion, it also started new construction on another addition at its same headquarters, designed to increase storage space as well as production areas. When the expansion is complete, the location will be at a 3,000-pallet capacity.
“Last year, we saw substantial growth in our family business,” Consalo said. “Early 2022 has been no different with customer demand increasing. The pandemic affected the produce industry in the way that people were shopping and thinking about buying fresh produce. For us, this meant requests for different pack styles and new pack styles. We adapted on our farms and in our packinghouses, but also as a company to create new programs.”
Therefore, innovation was and still is key to keeping up with demands. But success doesn’t come without its challenges.
“Food safety continues to be an ever-changing and evolving factor in our business,” Consalo said. “We are very lucky to partner with programs like Highland Hub and Orange Enterprises that have streamlined our food safety processes, traceability and record keeping. These programs assist us with growing, packing, storage, shipping and distribution.”
Additionally, labor continues to be a big challenge for the company, especially on-the-farm labor.
“We are very fortunate to have returning crews who have been with us for many years, but as we grow, the need for more labor is growing with us,” Consalo said.
In the months ahead, the company will be continuing to grow its summer citrus program, packing and marketing its own brand of citrus, Little Smoochies, for clementines, lemons, limes, grapefruit, and oranges.
“April, May, and June are exciting months for us,” Consalo said. “It’s a busy time, but as warm weather rolls around, we are all enthusiastic about Jersey Fresh season. In the first few weeks of May, we have seen typical trending items for Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby — cilantro and mint. Lettuce is one of our important spring crops and quality is starting out excellent. Looking ahead to blueberry season, we are optimistic about quality fruit with good sizing.”
Behind the scenes, Sarah Consalo was recently promoted to vice president of finance for the company.
“At the young age of 25, she is leading the finance department and is very passionate about her position,” Chelsea Consalo said about her sister. “I am very proud to see her actively working in the business.