Sunny Valley partners with Whalen Farms on strong cranberry season
During the fall season, Sunny Valley International markets fresh cranberries on behalf of Shamong, NJ-based Whalen Farms.
“Whalen Farms is a member of the Jersey Fruit Cooperative, so we also market their blueberries,” said Tom Beaver, director of sales and marketing for the Glassboro, NJ-based company.
Whalen Farms is a first-generation farm, established in 1985. At that time, the farm consisted of 10 acres of cranberries and 1.5 acres of blueberries. The farm has experienced excellent growth over the years, and now encompasses more than 300 acres of blueberries and 200 acres of cranberries. Jeff Whalen is the owner/operator of Whalen Farms, which is also managed by Bob Ritter and Chuck Torres.
“In a typical season, we will pack and ship about 10,000 cases of fresh cranberries,” Beaver said. “Primarily, our fresh cranberries are sold in a 12-ounce, full-graphic poly bag, emphasizing the prominent ‘Jersey Fruit’ brand. We also ship in 3-pound and 10-pound bulk units. Typically, we ship cranberries from early October through Christmas, with the weeks leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday being the peak of our season.”
What sets Whalen Farms apart is that all of its fresh cranberries are dry harvested and packed fresh to each order. The Ben Lear and Stevens varieties are outstanding, ideal for New Jersey’s unique growing conditions.
“The poly bag we use also ‘pops’ at retail, with beautiful graphics, cooking and prep tips and a large clear viewing window, which ensures that the beautiful, full color cranberries are very much the star of the show,” Beaver said.
Last year, the company enjoyed an excellent cranberry season and has high hopes for 2023.
“Fresh cranberries are a ‘must have’ item throughout the fall holiday season, and it seems that the pandemic resulted, at least in part, to a shift back to home-prepared meals,” Beaver said. “This has resulted in a new group of consumers interested in preparing their own cranberry-based dishes at home.”
Photo: Chuck Torres, Jeff Whalen and Bob Ritter of Whalen Farms.