VINELAND, NJ — Another member of the Consalo family has joined the family’s produce distribution company.
Bobby Consalo Jr., 24, graduated May 11 from Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ, with a bachelor of science degree in accounting. Since he was 13 years old, he has worked during the summers at the family firm, but he joined Wm. Consalo & Sons Farms Inc. on a full-time basis May 14.
He will work in sales and will be in charge of pre-cooling at the company, which was formed in 1927 and is headquartered here in southern New Jersey.
“I like theproduce business — the feel and the taste of fresh produce,” said Mr. Consalo, who is the third member of the fourth generation of the Consalo family to work at the well-known company. “It’s a great business to be in.”
Wm. Consalo & Sons Farms handles product from all over the country and beyond, but with its roots in the Garden State, fruits and vegetables from its home state are always an integral part of the business. And the new college graduate is starting his career during an atypical year in New Jersey.
“This year we started probably three weeks sooner than normal,” company President Vince Consalo told The Produce News May 7. “We’re basically in full swing with every item that the spring has to offer.” Asparagus was seeing good demand, although other items were just “moderate as far as demand goes,” he said. That’s due in part to New Jersey’s very early start overlapping with other growing areas still in play. “And it doesn’t take much to keep demand at a moderate level and prices softer.”
Of course, Mother Nature has a way of averaging things out, and this year may be no exception. “Maybe your first summer crops could be a bit early,” said Mr. Consalo, “but from mid-summer on, harvesting dates should get back to normal.”
That’s important, because as the company president has pointed out, the “Jersey deal” has three components: a spring deal primarily of vegetables; a summer deal of vegetables and fruits, especially the very important Jersey blueberries; and a fall deal of vegetables again. As Mr. Consalo put it, “You have to have all three segments if you want to be a well-rounded supplier.”
Wm. Consalo & Sons Farms continues to have a good mix of chainstore, wholesale and foodservice business, according to Mr. Consalo. Generally speaking, chains represent about 70 percent of the firm’s business, with foodservice representing about 20 percent and wholesalers representing the remaining 10 percent. Those figures are “pretty steady” year to year, he noted.
And with the early start this year, “We’re looking forward to having a good season,” he said.
But Bobby Consalo Jr. may have summed it up best. “I think Jersey produce is the best,” he said enthusiastically. “It’s great to promote.”