view current print edition







Peppadew Fresh pitching in to help Farmers Against Hunger

Peppadew Fresh, the Morganville, NJ-based operation that produces fresh Peppadew Gold peppers, has joined with the charitable organization Farmers Against Hunger to benefit area residents in need.

Farmers Against Hunger started in 1996 as a way for farmers throughout New Jersey to contribute extra produce to those in need. The organization uses volunteers to pack and transport the surplus product to food banks and pantries, thus relieving farmers from those duties.

Pierre Crawley, managing director of Peppadew Fresh Farms, said that in addition to Peppadew Gold, the farm produces several acres of tomatoes, eggplant, basil, hot peppers and Bell peppers - all of which are grown specifically for the Farmers Against Hunger program.

fah10Grace Donnelly picks tomatoes at Peppadew Fresh Farms for distribution through the Farmers Against Hunger program."Retailers and consumers in the area have been so accepting of Peppadew, and we wanted to do something to give something back," he told The Produce News. "This is our first time participating with the FAH program, and the yields we have been getting have been great. And it's not off-grade product that we are supplying to the program - it's high-quality produce. For example, some of the eggplant we've been growing for FAH is just beautiful."

Peppadew Fresh Farms is more than just a growing operation, said Crawley. The facility serves as an educational center for Peppadew, the small, piquant pepper first discovered in South Africa 17 years ago. The farm produces a fresh version of Peppadew called Peppadew Gold, or Goldew, but the more well-known red variety is sold only in a brined version.

This marks the second year of fresh production of Goldew, said Crawley, who admitted that there were some challenges to overcome in the first year of growing.

"We don't like to use chemical pesticides, so pest control and weed control and maximizing yields were things we had to figure out in year one," he said. "We also made some big investments in equipment this year on things such as tractors."

Crawley said that interest in Goldew has been on the rise among retailers and consumers in the area. The product is marketed under the "Jersey Fresh" promotional program, which tends to attract the attention of shoppers.

"Retailers love the fact that we are a local operation and the Goldew is produced locally," he said. "We are looking for the best formula at marketing fresh product and hopefully expanding on a nationwide basis, and I am encouraged by how far we have come already."