Eastern Fresh Growers story starts with Sheppard Farms...
In 1683, four Sheppard brothers moved to southern New Jersey and began their own vegetable farm. Since then, farming has been a family tradition for generations of Sheppards. The Sheppard family began farming in their current location on Sayres Neck Road in Cedarville, Cumberland County in 1888. That year, Timothy Sheppard bought a 108-acre farm with 40-tillable acres. Later Timothy's son Gilbert entered the business. The farm expanded to include 100-acres, 15 crops, 12 workhorses, and a new invention called a tractor. Gilbert's son, David T. Sheppard, Sr. continued that family farm tradition and expanded the farm's holdings. In 1980, Sheppard Farms, Inc. was incorporated under the leadership of David Sr. and his sons David Jr. and G. Erwin. In only a few short years, another son, Thomas, had joined Sheppard Farms, Inc.
Today, Sheppard Farms, Inc. has expanded to a 1,500-acre farm. The farm is still operated by Erwin and Tom both graduates of Cornell University. With two packinghouses, a number of cold storage units, and the farm continues to expand. During the peak of the season, Sheppard Farms employs up to 240 workers, including the next generation of the family, Erwin's son Brandon, and nephew-in-law Fran.
In 2010 we began construction of an addition to our facility for an upgraded packinghouse. This area was constructed to optimize product flow, allow for increased food safety measures and for continued expansion.
Currently, our facility has two seperate temperature controlled packing areas,sanitizer monitoring / injection systems ,three methods of precooling produce before storage and shipping, a seperate temperature controlled palletizing area and numerous software platforms are integrated to allow for proper record keeing and to facilitate in management decisions.
We have always taken pride in our finished product, thus we look for ways to continue improvements. Most recently in 2015 we implemented upgraded machinery to aid in our packing operations for asparagus. We will again expand upon this in 2016.
Over the years of being in agriculture Eastern Fresh Growers has aligned with other local growers. This helps to increase our menu and fulfill contracted sales. Remember with farming you are still at the mercy of nature, so the more farms involved the better chance of fulfilling customer needs.