2007 Distinguished Service Award Recipients
James M. SeabrookJim Seabrook has played a pivotal role in creating an outlet for vegetable growers in the Garden State. He’s a third generation family member of the Seabrook’s -- a family whose roots are prominently entrenched in New Jersey agriculture as far back as the 1870’s.
The Seabrook family developed a partnership with Clarence Birdseye in 1932 and became pioneers of the frozen vegetable industry. The business blossomed during World War II, in Upper Deerfield, Cumberland County, in a town with the Seabrook name where the Seabrooks began building homes for thousand of Japanese Americans who were rescued from U.S. internment camps – and also brought in several other immigrant workers from around the world. His grandfather’s unique business savvy and insight enabled different ethnic groups to work in harmony so as to develop Seabrook Farms into the leading producer and distributor of frozen vegetables in the U.S.
After a time of discontent Jim rescued the family business in the 70’s, renaming it Seabrook Brothers & Sons, Inc. Under his leadership, the company prospered to a $75 million dollar-a-year operation, processing as much as 100-million pounds of frozen vegetables annually. Today, this Cumberland County business processes 15 percent of the nations frozen spinach, 10 percent of the frozen bean market as well as growing and processing more than 20 varieties of vegetables.
Jim has been more than a farmer and an Executive for one of New Jersey’s leading agricultural businesses. This Princeton University graduate and former U.S Air Force pilot has served as a Director on a number of boards for major industries that include: telephone, Banking, and Insurance. His leadership extends through out his community having had a hand in the creation of a new high school and hospital.
Jim and his wife Joanne have seven adult children. He says, he’s witnessed and has been impacted by the ups and downs of a family business. But, through it all he’s survived and has achieved success. Jim says, Farmers are the most optimistic people -- and perhaps that explains why he’s been able to weather the good times and the bad times and come out shining.