Home > News > Press Releases > 2007 > INNOVATION, DIVERSIFICATION EXEMPLIFY GLOUCESTER COUNTY PEACH GROWERS
INNOVATION, DIVERSIFICATION EXEMPLIFY GLOUCESTER COUNTY PEACH GROWERS
Contact: Lynne Richmond
(TRENTON) – A new computer system at Sun Valley Orchards has fully-automated the company’s peach packinghouse. Cedarvale Farms, A.L. Gaventa and Sons is growing wine grapes with the hopes of starting a winery. New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Charles M. Kuperus today visited with the foreward-thinking farmers who own these farms and whose families have been producing Jersey peaches and other produce for the last century.
“Peaches are an important crop to New Jersey with a production value of almost $36 million,” said Secretary Kuperus. “But, we see that New Jersey farmers can not be satisfied with the status quo and must be innovative and diversify their operations to stay competitive in an ever changing marketplace.”
Secretary Kuperus toured Sun Valley Orchards in Swedesboro and Cedarvale Farms in Repaupo just as national forecasters ranked New Jersey second in the nation in peach production, with farmers expected to produce 32,000 tons of the juicy, sweet fruit this year.
Ed Gaventa grew up on his 200 acre fruit and vegetable farm, purchased by his grandfather in 1905. Now his two sons, ages 15 and 12 are working the farm alongside him. Cedarvale Farms, A.L. Gaventa and Sons, Inc., grows 100 acres of peaches and nectarines, 70 acres of sweet corn, 15 acres of pumpkins, 4 acres of strawberries and 4 and a half acres of wine grapes. Eight-seven acres of the farm are permanently preserved.
Gaventa sells a majority of his produce wholesale but operates a small roadside market. By this time next year, he said, he hopes he and his wife will be able to utilize the fruit from their vineyard for their new winery. Construction is expected to start soon on Cedarvale Winery, pending all necessary approvals.
The owners of Sun Valley Orchards have been honored by the New Jersey agriculture community for their innovativeness and commitment to strengthening the industry in the Garden State. Russell Marino received the Distinguished Service Citation from the State Board of Agriculture in 2006. That same year, his son, Joseph, who figures prominently in the business, was named New Jersey Outstanding Young Farmer.
Sun Valley Orchards utilizes state of the art technology on drip irrigation, packing, pre-cooling, plasticulture and greenhouse production. The farm produces 14 varieties of peaches, as well as cucumbers, green and yellow squash, pickles and peppers. About 620 acres of the 1,200-acre farm are permanently preserved. Sun Valley has been a family run business for four generations over the last century.
“Our hard-working farm families are the most important resource in New Jersey agriculture,” said Kuperus. “There have been favorable weather conditions this season that have produced good to excellent peach quality and size, however, without innovative farmers, such as the Gaventas and Marinos, the Garden State would not be a national leader in peaches and many other crops.”