Mike D’Ottavio sees reasons for excitement in 2021
“I’m more excited for this season than any other season in past years,” Michael D’Ottavio, president of D’Ottavio Farms, based in Vineland, NJ, said Wednesday, May 5. “With the country opening back up, people are excited to be on the move, heading out to restaurants and shopping in their local supermarket for family events like barbecues and pool parties. This will really help every grower see better markets, along with much better demand for all fruits and vegetables.”
D’Ottavio Farms will be increasing its acreage of blueberries, blackberries, pole cucumbers, Bell peppers, specialty peppers, eggplants, green squash, yellow squash, hard squash, cilantro, collards, kale, parsley, dill, Tuscan kale, cabbage, bunch beets, escarole, endive, swiss chard and cauliflower “to ramp up for what I believe will be the best spring ever,” he said.
D’Ottavio Farms also began this season focusing on labor welfare, environmental responsibility and traceability. “As a vertically integrated grower, wholesaler and trucker, we need to do it better,” he stated. “This is where our industry needs to focus the most on to ensure our customers that we have taken all the precautions possible to protect our employees and the consumers.”
He added, “Even though our family has grown fruits and vegetables for five generations, we are constantly learning better ways to farm, such as using poles to grow cucumbers, using articulated trellises for blackberries, planting bee habitats and using satellite controlled irrigation to save on fuel and use less water.”
All of this “truly helps us increase shelf life and quality for our customers along with helping the environment,” he said. “As a farm that grows organically and conventionally, we have the ability to give our customers a much larger diversity of fruits and vegetables that they can load at one location and still deliver to almost anywhere on the East Coast in 24 to 48 hours.”
But most of all, said D’Ottavio, “Let’s hope and pray that the worst is behind us and that the future looks better than ever for everyone.”