Sweet potatoes and cranberries big items for Frank Donio in fall
As summer draws to a close, New Jersey makes a seamless shift from being a prominent blueberry shipping point in June and July to the realm of fall seasonal items. This is an exciting transition for Hammonton, NJ-based Frank Donio Inc., as it proudly harvests two of the most enduring and beloved fall items.
Among the array of autumn favorites for the company, which is backed by nine decades of family-owned experience, are sweet potatoes and cranberries — two iconic fall items grown in New Jersey.
“The legacy at Frank Donio spans four generations, and it’s quite remarkable that my great grandfather was packing sweet potatoes in what we now call our headquarters almost a century ago,” said Annie Pape, special projects and brand manager for the company.
The new generations are finding the same success as a trusted partner to those in the industry, and are a company that many turn to in the fall.
“The orange sweet potato, known for its bright orange flesh, has had a persistent presence both in our fall harvest and on grocery shelves for decades,” said Pape, a fourth-generation family member. “Its strong popularity is marked by its role as a versatile autumn staple and a legendary dish of Thanksgiving tables nationwide.”
With demand for the classic orange sweet potato continuing, the company has seen a growing interest in the Murasaki red sweet potato.
The term Murasaki, meaning purple in Japanese, refers to the unique vivid purple-red skin that surround the sweet, white flesh.
“This variety introduces an artistic flair to autumn dishes, and we’re excited to continue to offer this item to our customers this season,” Pape said.
Furthermore, cranberries hold their own as another essential component of the Jersey fall season for the company.
“While sweet potatoes boast a longer shelf life and are typically available throughout the year, cranberries are exclusively harvested during this season, solidifying their status as a symbol of fall fresh produce,” Pape said. “As we move into the autumn season, we will continue to grow peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant until the first frost.”
Simultaneously, the company is entering its import blueberry season, sourcing berries from trusted growers in Peru and Chile.
“This strategic move guarantees a continuous supply throughout the year, aligning with consumers’ ever-present demand for fresh, high-quality blueberries,” Pape said.
To ensure that it remains a leader in that segment, the company works closely with the New Jersey Blueberry Commission, The United States High Bush Blueberry Council, and The North American Blueberry Council.