Sun Valley Orchards and VonThun Farms were commended for contributions to New Jersey’s agriculture industry at the New Jersey State Agricultural Convention in Atlantic City, NJ, held Feb. 5-7.
Sun Valley Orchards and the Marino Family were awarded the Patrick Mullen Jersey Fresh Quality Grading Award. Sun Valley Orchards in Swedesboro, NJ, was founded in the early 1970s and has grown into one of the largest fruit and vegetable growers, packers, and shippers in New Jersey. The 1,200-acre farm is operated by Russell Marino and his sons, Russell Jr. and Joseph and their families.
Mullen was the Director of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s Division of Marketing and Development and developed the Jersey Fresh Quality Grading Program, which inspects produce to ensure it is of the highest quality. Each year, Jersey Fresh Quality Grading Program inspectors recognize a farm that works hard to supply top-quality produce.
VonThun Farms, Monmouth Junction, was honored with the Neil Robson Farmers Against Hunger Award. The award recognizes farmers who make outstanding contributions to the fight against hunger by providing fresh fruits and vegetables to help feed the hungry. It was established in memory of Robson, a leading Burlington County farmer who died suddenly in 2006.
Bob and Cindy VonThun have donated more than 30,000 pounds of produce to Farmers Against Hunger, a gleaning organization that collects donated Jersey Fresh produce and distributes it to emergency feeding organizations throughout the state.