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Sunny Valley International expects season of ‘gorgeous’ peaches

By
Keith Loria

Sunny Valley International is a shipper and full-service marketing company specializing in imported and domestic fruit sales, most notably its long-standing South Carolina and New Jersey stone fruit and East Coast blueberry programs.

The company’s South Carolina peach program is a cornerstone of the business, and its peaches go directly to retail, supporting customers up and down the East Coast and into the Midwest.

sdf“This year, we are anticipating a full crop of beautiful peaches,” said Tom Beaver, director of sales and marketing at the Glassboro, NJ-based company. “Our grower-partner, Dixie Belle, suffered from extreme crop damage and loss last season due to a late freeze that impacted most Southeastern stone fruit producers.”

This year, the weather cooperated, so he is thrilled to be back in business with exceptional fruit from mid-May through the end of the summer.

“We expect a full crop of gorgeous peaches,” Beaver said. “We will have good volume through Labor Day. There will be ample promotional opportunities for our retail partners throughout the season, and we’re looking forward to making peaches a focal point of their promotional efforts this summer. Our customers were almost as disappointed as we were about the impact on last year’s crop, so everyone is excited to have Eastern peaches all summer this year.”

Dixie Belle is a multi-generational family grower with an unwavering commitment to picking, packing and shipping only the best peaches.

“For Dixie Belle, the commitment to quality starts in the orchards and extends through packing and shipping,” Beaver said. “They harvest only the best varieties of Eastern peaches, perfectly suited for South Carolina’s unique growing conditions, characterized by hot, humid days and cool evenings. Varieties are selected for taste, quality and cosmetic appearance, and excel in all three areas. Above all, they’re picking peaches that flat-out eat better than anything else in the marketplace, and given that we’re a one-day ride from major retailers up and down the East Coast, our customers know that they are getting product at peak quality and freshness.”

Dixie Belle also has a state-of-the-art packingline, which uses infrared scanning technology to identify defects that wouldn’t be caught by the naked eye. This further ensures that only the best peaches are making it into every box.

“The farm also adheres to industry leading food-safety and quality assurance standards, including all of the major audits that our customers look for,” Beaver said.

In 2024, Sunny Valley International continues to expand its emphasis on specialty packs, including everything from trays to bags and other product innovations.

“This multi-pronged approach allows our customers to expand their sales at retail,” Beaver said. “For example, some customers leverage a combination of trays and bags, allowing them to market larger peaches in the tray format and smaller peaches in bags targeting consumers who prioritized grab and go convenience.”

Today, Sunny Valley International is the only stone fruit supplier with product in South Carolina and New Jersey.

“This gives us unrivaled surety of supply and ensures that our customers will have peaches throughout the summer,” Beaver said. “Our goal is to continue to grow with our customers, expanding partnerships, promotions and specialty pack opportunities to ensure that they are at the leading edge of peach marketing at retail.”

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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