Eastern Produce Council Leadership Program Tours Rutgers Snyder Research Farm

The Eastern Produce Council's Leadership Program 2019 group received a warm welcome from Peter Nitzsche, County Agent I & Professor for the Rutgers Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the Snyder Research & Extension Farm on Tuesday, June 4th in Pittstown, NJ. The group spent the day touring the farm, learning about the Rutgers Research and Extension program, and honing their leadership and communication skills in an afternoon classroom session.

Mr. Nitzsche provided an overview of the farm stating, “We’re happy to welcome you to the Rutgers Center for Sustainable Agriculture: The Clifford E. and Melda C. Snyder Research and Extension Farm. Clifford and Melda Snyder were farmers and very active in the agricultural community and when they passed on decided to bequeath the 390-acre farm to Rutgers for use as a research facility. This farm is utilized by Rutgers to conduct research on sustainable agriculture and to address problems faced by farmers in northern NJ.”

EPC Executive Director, Susan McAleavey Sarlund led the Leadership students during their tour and commented the goal behind the group was simple. "We wanted to give the group a chance to get real-life, hands-on experience as part of this exceptional program and touring Snyder Farm was the perfect choice for the third component of the program". The group had previously toured Gloucester Port and Terminal in Gloucester City, NJ and Greenyard Logistics in Swedesboro, NJ and attended a FSMA seminar at the end of April.

The tour of the farm began with a wagon ride to the strawberry patch where the students learned about the various forms of trials and testing that occur at the farm. Nitzche allowed the EPC Leadership team to pick some strawberries to bring home, explaining that the majority of New Jersey strawberry farmers do so for the agri-tourism segment, i.e. “pick-your-own” as they are very labor intensive to pick. They continued along the wagon ride where they learned that while the farm is primarily for research, they do sell some of the surplus crop to the Rutgers University dining services when appropriate and they have also donated over $1.7 million of fresh produce to local food banks to help combat food scarcity in the area.

The “students” in the Leadership Program were able to get their hands dirty too. A few of them helped to plant new Yacon plants that the university is testing for potential fall options for local farmers to expand their crop offering.

Following a nice lunch provided by the team at the Farm, the EPC group participated in an afternoon session in a classroom environment. Stan Elson, Adjunct Professor for Rutgers University, conducted the afternoon educational session with a focus on communication and leadership skills. McAleavey Sarlund remarked, “It was great to see the group engage in the exercises Stan put together about personality traits and how to effectively interact with colleagues who may be quite different in an effort to meet common goals!”

The Leadership Group will meet again in September to tour Wightman Farms in Morristown, NJ and conclude their yearlong program at the New York Produce Show and Conference in December.

 

NJDA Hosts 10th Annual BBQ at Demarest Farm EPC/Nolan Family Foundation Scholarships Awarded

For the 32nd consecutive year, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture hosted the EPC's May meeting with a Barbeque at Demarest Farm in Hillsdale, NJ.

Doug Fisher, New Jersey’s Secretary of Agriculture, was the moderator for the state's presentation which included comments by Tom Beaver, NJDA’s Director of Marketing, and representatives of the NJ Blueberry Council, Peach Council and Vegetable Growers Association.

Pictured from left to right are: Kelly Davis, EPC Vice President and Director of Produce and Floral at Allegiance Retail Services, Susan McAleavey Sarlund, EPC Executive Director, Doug Fisher, Marianne Santo, EPC President and Senior Category Manager Produce and Floral at Wakefern Food Corp., and Tom Beaver.

Theresa Nolan was also in attendance to present this year’s $5,000 Annual Nolan Family Foundation Scholarships to Andrew Antoch, (son of Mark Antoch of FreshPro Food Dist.) and Jillian Young, (daughter of Jeff Young of A&J Produce). In the past Theresa’s Foundation has awarded one scholarship. This year, the Nolan Foundation and the Eastern Produce Council combined efforts to award a second $5,000 Scholarship.

What makes this scholarship unique is that it is based solely on a 500-word essay on ethics. In particular, applicants need to site an example of how they faced an ethical challenge in their life and dealt with it. Anonymous essays are judged by representatives of the Nolan Foundation, not the Eastern Produce Council. Congratulations Andrew and Jillian!

Pictured L to R are: Kelly Davis, Jeff Young of A&J Produce, (father of Scholarship recipient, Jillian Young), Susan McAleavey Sarlund, Theresa Nolan, Scholarship Recipient Andrew Antoch, Mark Antoch,, and Marianne Santo.

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South Carolina Department of Agriculture Hosts April Meeting

On Tuesday, April 23rd, the South Carolina Department of Agriculture hosted the EPC’s dinner meeting at Il Villaggio in Carlstadt, NJ for the 48th consecutive year.

Katie Pfeiffer, the state's director of merchandising, was the moderator for the state's presentation which included comments by Jimmy Plunket of Seedway, LLC and President of SC Watermelon Association, Matt Forest, Owner/Operator Dixie Belle Peaches and President of SC Peach Council, and Weatherly Thomas, President SC Specialty Crop Growers Association.

As is tradition at this April meeting, Pfeiffer introduced the EPC's new directors and slate of officers for the coming year.

Pictured above are representative of the SCDA and Board Members of the EPC.

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The 2019 EPC Leadership Class

The Eastern Produce Council is proud to announce this year’s Leadership Class.

The Leadership Program is a professional development experience for Produce Professionals who have less than 10 years of experience in the industry. The goal is to provide the group with an opportunity to gain valuable knowledge from both classroom and field experiences throughout the coming year.

Schedule of Events

April 9th - Visit to Holt Cargo Systems, Inc. at the Port of Gloucester City and Greenyard Logisitics USA.
April 23rd - Food Safety Modernization Act Seminar.
June 4th - Classroom / Field Experience at Rutgers University's Snyder Farm.
September 10th - Classroom / Field Experience at Rutgers University's Wightman's Farm.
Mid December - Attend New York Produce Show Seminar & Keynote Breakfast where certificates will be presented for the completion of the Program.

 

Thank you to all who attended or supported
The John J. McAleavey Annual Gala (Casino Night)

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New York State Agriculture Hosts EPC’s Kick-off Meeting of 2019

On Tuesday, February 26th, the Eastern Produce Council kicked off their 2019 season with a meeting at the Stony Hill Inn in Hackensack, NJ.

Sponsoring the Dinner Meeting was the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets, in conjunction with the New York Apple Association and the New York State Vegetable Growers Association. Following a brief video on the New York State Grown & Certified Program, Cynthia Haskins, President of the NYAA and Maureen Torrey of Torrey Farms and the NYSVGA, addressed the group and expressed the importance of the New York metro marketplace to their businesses. This marketing program, announced by Governor Cuomo in 2016 to help simplify labeling claims for NY agricultural producers, now has over 2,400 farms participating, representing over 500,000 acres. The women also recognized and thanked the New York State farmers who were in attendance as well as the Eastern Produce Council for the opportunity to address their group.

Marianne Santo, EPC President, thanked the sponsors for their presentation and support of the council and updated the group on upcoming EPC Events. In addition, the 2019 EPC Leadership Class was announced and those in attendance were recognized.

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9th Annual New York Produce Show & Conference

Thank You!

Thank you for your support of the 9th Annual New York Produce Show and Conference! The Keynote Breakfast, Expo, Symposiums, and Tours could not succeed without you.

 

4th Annual Joe Delorenzo Family Apple Picking Filled with Family Fun!

Despite the fall weather of late in New Jersey, The Eastern Produce Council held its fourth-annual Joe DeLorenzo Family Day and Apple Picking event this past Saturday, October 13th, at Melick’s Family Farm in Oldwick, NJ. The event was named in honor of long-time board member and two-time president of the council, Joe DeLorenzo, who died in November 2014. “Joe was all about family, and this event is an opportunity for EPC families to remember Joe and spend time together out on a farm in primetime apple season”, said Susan McAleavey Sarlund,
executive director of the EPC.

Joe’s love of family was evident by more than 25 of the DeLorenzo family on hand for the event. In addition to a hayride out to the orchard to pick apples, everyone enjoyed fresh cider and donuts, hot dogs, popcorn and roasted corn on the cob.

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Thanks to those who attended our
2nd Annual Tailgate Dinner
at MetLife Stadium

Hut hut hike. Avocados from Mexico and the Idaho Potato Commission hosted our 2nd Annual Tailgate Dinner at The Toyota Lounge, overlooking the field at MetLife Stadium. The event featured guest speaker, and former New York Football Giants defensive end, George Martin.

Click here for Press Release.

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On-Site Event for Inaugural EPC Leadership Program A Great Success

The Eastern Produce Council's Leadership Program visited The Giamarese Farm & Orchard and Rutgers Holly House in East Brunswick, NJ on September 12th. The team of fourteen future leaders came together for their fourth component of the program to continue to build upon the foundation of hands on learning and team building last week. Click here to read complete article.

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