For Sonny Boy Produce, fall caps off the local season
Sonny Boy Produce experienced a great summer produce season, and was looking to see similar results for the upcoming New Jersey fall produce season.
“We had a very good season,” said Thomas Consalo, president of Sonny Boy Produce in Vineland, NJ. “The weather started on the cooler side and is certainly finishing on the warmer side. We had excellent quality throughout. We enjoyed a great summer deal.”
During the summer, “As always blueberries were our premier item,” he said. “It was an exceptional year on blueberries. We had some struggles with volume, but price and quality were very steady throughout.” He added, “Veg was good as well. We did excellent with peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, and sweet corn as well.”
Asked about weather conditions, Consalo said, “The weather has gotten a bit better” after New Jersey and so many parts of the country had been dealing with unusually high temperatures for an extended period of time. “It’s still on the dry side, but at least that’s something that we can attempt to control with irrigation and what not.”
Asked when he thought the fall crops would be starting, the company president replied, “Generally the second or third week of September.” The deal usually continues through Thanksgiving “and sometimes farther, all depending on the weather,” he said.
In the early fall, “We’ll roll back into all the cooking greens and herbs, and then make our way back into the lettuces,” he said. “The hard squash that we’re into now will roll through that time frame as well. Jersey peaches will kind of overlap that period as well.”
As for the main fall items, “We’ll have a strong lettuce crop,” he stated. “That’ll be a good volume mover for us — Romaine, red leaf, green leaf, escarole, endive. Those are some of the Jersey items that we will be really promoting.”
Then toward the end of the fall deal, he said, “We’ll push hard on sweet potatoes, all the squash, and of course the cooking greens for the big Thanksgiving feasts.”
The New Jersey fall deal continues to be an important one for Sonny Boy Produce. “It caps off our local season,” he noted. “Any loose ends can be tied up.”
The fall deal provides an opportunity “to finish strong,” he concluded. “It’s a big part of our business that we carry all the way through the holiday season. It makes up a significant part of our business as we approach the end of the year.”
Photo: Tom Consalo in a greenhouse at the company's farm in Landisville, NJ.