Eastern Fresh Growers builds packinghouse

Eastern Fresh Growers Inc., Cedarville, N.J. will have a new packinghouse up and running for the majority of the 2011 season, said Tom Sheppard, the company’s president.

The 28,000-square-foot facility is scheduled to be up and running by June 20, Sheppard said.

“We’re putting the equipment in, transferring the lines,” he said.

The facility is more than four times bigger than Eastern Fresh’s old 6,000-square-foot shed, which will now be used for storage, Sheppard said.

The additional space means that incoming product will no longer sit outside before entering the shed, he said. All vegetables will be cooled as soon as they come in from the fields.

The new shed also is large enough for the company to add a second packing line, Sheppard said.

Eastern Fresh anticipates adding an electronic line dedicated solely to peppers, he said.

In addition, the facility also will allow Eastern Fresh to ship more product, Sheppard said.


Fresh Wave opens import office

Fresh Wave Fruit & Produce, Vineland, N.J., is expanding its import program with the opening of a dedicated import office in Englewood, N.J., said Nick Giordano, the company’s vice president.

The company began importing blueberries from Argentina and Chile, apples from New Zealand, pears from Argentina and clementines from Spain in 2010, Giordano said.

The success of the import program’s rookie season convinced the company to expand for its sophomore campaign.

“We brought in a lot more than we anticipated,” he said.

“We grew really, really fast, and felt the need to add (the Englewood office).”

The office is headed by Hernand Brave, who joined Fresh Wave March 1.

Brave, an Argentina native who grew up in the blueberry business, has worked for several U.S. produce firms, Giordano said.

Giordano expects the Spanish clementine program to grow the most over the next year.