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Sunny Valley has more than a quarter century of success with peaches

By
Keith Loria

Sunny Valley International has plenty of history as one of New Jersey’s premier stone fruit suppliers, having been the exclusive marketing partner for the Jersey Fruit Cooperative and Larchmont Farms for more than 25 years.

“By volume, we are New Jersey’s largest wholesale stone fruit distributor,” said Tom Beaver, director of sales and marketing for the Glassboro, NJ-based company. “We market yellow and white flesh peaches from early-July through mid-September.” On average, Sunny Valley ships more than 500,000 case equivalents of New Jersey stone fruit a year, with the season running from July 1 through around mid-September.

With more than a quarter century of experience behind it, Sunny Valley knows the secret of success comes from a combination of quality, freshness and proximity to market. “We ship more than 30 varieties of peaches and nectarines, each of which have been selected specifically based on New Jersey’s unique growing conditions and climate,” Beaver said. “Additionally, we are within a day’s ride of the New York, Philadelphia and New England markets. Our peaches are picked, packed, shipped and on store shelves within 24 to 48 hours. When consumers buy our stone fruit, they are truly picking the best.”

Last year was a challenging one for Sunny Valley, as there was an overabundance of stone fruit in the supply chain. “While demand was strong, pricing was largely held flat,” Beaver said. “We are expecting excellent New Jersey peach and nectarine crops this season. We should have sufficient volume to support retail programs from mid-July through Labor Day, and are looking forward to partnering with our customers to promote New Jersey stone fruit throughout the season.”

Sunny Valley can create value for customers by offering consistency of volume and delivery and accommodating any pack size and style — from traditional volume containers to grab-and-go backs and tray packs for club stores.

“One of the biggest challenges we face is competition with western peaches,” Beaver said. “But in our eyes, there is no reason that any East Coast retailer should be prioritizing western stone fruit when we are in the marketplace.”
In fact, this year, more than ever, retailers have every incentive to promote New Jersey stone fruit because of the challenges impacting the market.

“Typically, our fruit is picked, packed and shipped within one or two days, hitting store shelves at peak freshness,” Beaver said. “Additionally, given the ongoing issues with freight costs and logistical challenges overall, our proximity to market has never been more impactful.”

He characterizes peaches and nectarines as the ultimate summer fruit — synonymous with warmer weather, BBQ’s and everything else people think about during the summertime. “That said, for many consumers, peaches and nectarines are an impulse purchase,” Beaver said. “This is why we hope that retailers are featuring stone fruit prominently in their in-store displays and on-ad throughout the summer. New Jersey peaches and nectarines practically sell themselves when consumers can’t help but notice high impact displays filled with full-color fruit and the rich aroma that only peaches offer.”

 

Keith Loria

Keith Loria

About Keith Loria  |  email

A graduate of the University of Miami, Keith Loria is a D.C.-based award-winning journalist who has been writing for major publications for close to 20 years on topics as diverse as real estate, food and sports. He started his career with the Associated Press and has held high editorial positions at magazines aimed at healthcare, sports and technology. When not busy writing, he can be found enjoying time with his wife, Patricia, and two daughters, Jordan and Cassidy.

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