Loading…

Excitement reigns at M. D’Ottavio Produce over first blueberry harvest at Old Homestead Blue Farm

Michael D’Ottavio, president of M. D’Ottavio Produce Inc. in Vineland, NJ, told The Produce News that it is very excited about its first blueberry harvest at the D’Ottavio Old Homestead Blue Farm, also in Vineland.

Dottavio3561At a company blueberry field in Vineland, NJ, at the end of May: Mike D’Ottavio (second from right), president of M. D’Ottavio Produce Inc.; his brother, Leon D’Ottavio (right), who heads maintenance and third-party audits at the company; Leon’s daughter, Savannah, who will be 2 years old in July and who represents the fifth generation; and their mother, Elaine D’Ottavio. Photo by Gordon M. Hochberg.

The name of the farm was adapted because it was the first farm that D’Ottavio’s grandfather cleared and started to grow on in 1903.

M. D’Ottavio Produce Inc., as it is organized today, is now celebrating 25 years in business.

“We will harvest the first 60 acres at the Old Homestead Blue Farm this year,” said D’Ottavio. “It is a five-year plan that increases in acreage each year. By 2018 we will have 150 acres of blueberries on the farm.”

He added that with all new varieties and plants on the Old Homestead Blue Farm, and being only three years old, the blueberries will have exceptional taste and fantastic sizing.

“Our Natures Eye watering system, developed by Lee Rain Inc., located here in Vineland, is operating flawlessly,” said D’Ottavio. “It uses 40 percent less water than conventional watering systems, and 30 percent less fuel. These benefits are helping us to do what we can for the environment, and at the same time, get the most production from our plants.”

M. D’Ottavio Produce planted a bee habitat over three years ago. It has proven successful at promoting a natural bee pollinating source for the company’s blueberries.

“We will be shipping a new box and label this season that my son Anthony, and daughter Erica helped to design,” said D’Ottavio. “We will have multiple packs such as conventional, commonly referred to as CV, pints and one-pound clamshells.”

The company will also have organic blueberries in pints and in 18-ounce clamshells available this season.

The company is Primus certified, “And our new loading dock is completely refrigerated,” added D’Ottavio. “This ensures that we are fully food-safety compliant.”

D’Ottavio said the company is right on track for a mid-June start date with its blueberry crop.

“May was cloudy with a little more rain than normal,” he noted. “The weather is now more typical for this time of year. I feel this will give us a nice flow of fruit as compared to last year when the heat brought the fruit on all at once.

“As far as the market goes, no one will know that until August, but I wish everyone a favorable year,” added D’Ottavio.

The company also offers a wide range of fresh fruits and vegetables, including imports.

Kroger expands plans for high-tech fulfillment centers
The Kroger Family of Cos. and Ocado announced the continued expansion of their partnership with plans to construct three new customer fulfillment centers in the Great Lakes, Pacific Northwest and West regions.   "Kroger is incredibly excited to construct three additional industry-leading Customer Fulfillment Centers across Read More ...
Onions 52 welcomes Food Lion's Clay Jones to sales team
Onions 52 Inc. has welcomed Clay Jones to its sales and business development team. Jones is based in San Antonio, TX, and will be focusing on new account development and expanding business with current customers. “We could not be happier to have Clay join our team,” said Shawn Hartley, vice president of sales. “With Clay’s Read More ...
Simple labeling changes can escalate sales
Simple changes on a produce packaging label can drastically influence consumer purchases of that product. Tony Cook, chief executive officer of Great Lakes Label LLC, said his customers have seen this immediately build retail sales by as much as 30 percent. Cook, who in 1994 started the company in Comstock, MI, credits the Read More ...
Tops' new safety and risk leader
Tops Friendly Markets, a leading full-service grocery retailer in New York, northern Pennsylvania and Vermont, promoted Natalie Fisher to manager of safety and risk for the company. Fisher began her career with Tops in the stores in 2001 and was promoted to various roles until her appointment as safety specialist for the Read More ...
Giltner sees silver lining amid coronavirus pandemic
The current coronavirus pandemic has presented challenges that few could have imagined. In the face of those challenges, Giltner Inc. has found a way to stay the course and continue to provide the high level of service its clients have come to expect. “We’ve had tough conversations with some of our customers, but they Read More ...

Market Watch

the source pro-act

Western growing regions getting hit by rain, cooler temps

floral pulse