Sunny Valley International gearing up for South Carolina peach season
Sunny Valley International, based in Glassboro, NJ, has been in business for more than 35 years, and is anticipating a strong domestic season in 2022, starting with South Carolina peaches.
“Right now, we are preparing for the South Carolina peach season,” said Tom Beaver, director of sales and marketing for Sunny Valley. “We will be shipping stone fruit with our partners, Belle Peaches, from May through August.”
The company is the exclusive marketing agent for Dixie Belle Peaches, owned and operated by the Forrest family, a fourth-generation peach farm that ranks among the top 15 stone fruit growers in the U.S. every year.
“Dixie Belle is primarily a grower of yellow-flesh peaches,” Beaver said. “In partnership with Dixie Belle, we have the potential to ship more than 650,000 case equivalents of yellow peaches annually.”
Sunny Valley International has been marketing South Carolina peaches for more than two decades.
“Our South Carolina peach program is of critical importance for us,” Beaver said. “We are privileged to represent an outstanding grower, which allows us to ship peaches of excellent quality consistently throughout the season.”
Additionally, the company is one of the only stone fruit suppliers on the East Coast with consistent supplies out of the Southeast and mid-Atlantic. Therefore, it is able to support customers with stone fruit out of South Carolina and New Jersey from May through mid-September, extending Eastern Peach marketing opportunities.
“Like every grower-shipper, the biggest challenge we face currently is adjusting to the inflationary pressure we have been under over the past two years,” Beaver said. “The cost of just about everything has gone up significantly, from hired labor to materials and trucking. At the same time, we recognize that our retail customers are likewise facing the same pressure. We are all being squeezed and trying to compensate for these additional costs, but we are also focused on supplying a product that is promotable at retail and affordable for the end consumer.”
Sunny Valley primarily ships to retail grocery outlets on the East Coast and has found that the secret to strong partnerships is consistency.
“Our customers know that no one will work as hard for them as we will,” Beaver said. “Our goal is to ensure that our customers have what they need when they need it. Fortunately, Dixie Belle is an excellent grower, and they work tirelessly throughout the summer to fill every order with premium eastern peaches. Additionally, we work with our retail partners to identify opportunities for promotion and ads.”
Although some unseasonably cold temperatures in early March will likely result in a slower-than-normal start to the Southeastern peach season, Sunny Valley expects to be underway with retail shipments by late-May and into full volume by early-June.
“Overall, we are expecting an excellent crop,” Beaver said. “There should be ample opportunities to promote Southeastern peaches throughout the summer.”