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Fall crop in great shape this year at Wm. Consalo & Sons

“My brother, Bob, and I will be walking the New York Produce Show,” Vincent Consalo, president of Wm. Consalo & Sons Farms Inc. in Vineland, NJ, told The Produce News. “We anticipate a good networking opportunity, and it’s extremely convenient for us because we can drive there and back the same day. I’m sure the timing poses some problems for people because it’s so close to the [Produce Marketing Association’s] Fresh Summit, but people are excited about being able to enjoy the city and get work done at the same time.

Mr. Consalo said that he and his brother would be targeting all the exhibitors to see if there is anything new or different that would fit into the company’s culture and product line.

As the company heads into fall, it is promoting its full line of leafy greens including collard greens, mustard greens, Swiss chard, kohlrabi and beets.

“Our herb line consists of cilantro, arugula, dill weed, basil, mint and much more,” said Mr. Consalo. “We also have a full line of lettuces and cabbages. Our vegetable offerings consist of celery knobs, parsnips and other root vegetables. All of the crops look good this year. We’ve been fortunate with the weather this season, and everything is coming on as planned.”

The company’s fall line of fresh produce items is produced at its farm in Landisville, NJ. Mr. Consalo said that the items would be available until the middle of November, give or take a couple of weeks depending on the weather.

In the winter, Wm. Consalo & Sons Farms sources its leafy greens and herbs from its joint ventures in California. It also sources dry items such as peppers, squashes, zucchini and eggplants from Mexico through its office in Nogales, AZ.

Mr. Consalo and his brother are third-generation family members to operate the business. It was started in 1927 by their grandfather, William Consalo Sr., who had a vision of bringing only the freshest and finest produce to market.

“He brought his love for the land to everything he grew,” said Mr. Consalo. “And we inherited his dedication to growing healthy, high-quality produce. As the company expanded, my grandfather’s reputation for fair dealing earned him the trust and confidence of local farmers and an ever-widening market of satisfied customers. Today, our company is universally recognized for its leadership, dedication and family commitment to providing quality fruit and produce for North America’s tables.”

The fourth generation of Consalo family members now is also working in the business. Mr. Consalo’s sons, Jonathon Consalo and Kevin Consalo, and Bob’s son, Bobby Consalo Jr., have made the business their careers.

“Jonathon and Kevin came on board over 10 years ago,” said Mr. Consalo. “Jonathon handles purchasing and sales, and Kevin oversees quality control. Bobby is in charge of vacuum cooling.”

Wm. Consalo & Sons Farms’ state-of-the-art hydro-vacuum cooler runs on electricity and uses Freon cooling. It runs fresh water under a vacuum, allowing the product to cool fast and stay moist. This gives products a longer shelf life and allows for extended travel time to customers’ facilities.

“We use a five- and six-pallet vacuum-cooling machine to keep the cooling process running smoothly so that we can get product cooled, loaded and shipped on time,” said Mr. Consalo.

The company’s customers are wholesalers, retailers and foodservice operators. It ships north to Ontario, south to Florida and west to Ohio.

Regarding food safety, Mr. Consalo said that he believe the entire industry should strive to maintain standards that are universal. “You cannot have a standard for one company but not for another,” he said. “Most small farmers are already practicing food safety. They are required to have licenses for pesticides and other practices, so it’s really just a matter of getting everyone on the same page. I believe it’s very important to not make food-safety programs more difficult or more expensive than it already is.”