Vineland Produce Auction serving the industry since 1931

vinelandauction22 The Vineland Produce Auction opened for the 2020 season on Monday, April 27, and one week later was already seeing good volumes of a wide variety of vegetable items, according to the auction’s Carol DeFoor.

Because of the abnormally warm winter and early spring, “We thought we were going to have an early spring opening,” DeFoor told The Produce News May 4. But April saw some colder weather and even a few frost warnings in some parts of New Jersey.

“Some people were saying that it was colder in April than it was in February,” she noted. “So we ended up opening a little later than we thought.”

In any event, the auction, which has been serving the needs of the fresh produce industry from its location in southern New Jersey for close to 90 years, was handling many popular items by the first week in May.

“We had some asparagus at the opening,” she said. “We mostly had greens, a lot of cilantro. Now we’ve got dill, collards, escarole, a good volume of asparagus, bok choy, baby bok choy. Lettuces have started — Romaine, green leaf, red leaf, Boston. Everything’s coming in well now.”

And early quality has been “very good,” she stated. “The rain [during April] hasn’t really hurt anything. Quality’s been good.”

The auction also has been more active recently in promoting all the features it offers to the industry. As DeFoor put it, “We’re just changing our marketing strategy to get the word out and remind everyone” about the auction’s strengths and benefits.

“We’ve been buying and selling produce since 1931 at this location,” she said with pride. “We’re farmer-owned-and-operated. We want to remind people about the benefits of the produce auction. We’re getting the word out to remind people that we’ve been here for almost 90 years, and we’re very visible. We’re the place where the farmers can sell their produce, and people can come to buy produce.”

The auction also has boosted its image with an updated website, more information, new graphics and links to its buyers/brokers.

As reported by The Produce News back in March, there are new photos on the site, including some vintage photos going back to the early days of the auction.

In fact, some of the families on both the broker/buyer and farmer sides have been with the auction since the first day. The site also lists its buyers/brokers with links to their websites.

And for the first time, the site offers recipes detailing how to use the wide variety of produce items that the auction handles. Those recipes will change as the season progresses and different items become available.

Asked how the auction has been dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 situation, DeFoor replied, “Everybody is complying with the regulations that are out there because no one wants to have a problem at their place. I feel we have it under control. Everyone is very careful here.” For example, she noted, “Staff are separated in the office to allow for social distancing, and we have put extra [clear plastic] barriers between the windows and the staff in the office.”

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