New Jersey Grower Of The Year Was 1995 Cover Subject Of American Vegetable Grower Magazine
Ed Wuillermin & Sons Farm in Hammonton is to be Awarded Vegetable Grower of the Year at the 2016 New Jersey State Agricultural Convention, which will be held Feb. 9-11 in Atlantic City.
The cover story of the August 1995 issue of American Vegetable Grower magazine, “Ed Wuillermin & Sons: New Jersey’s Pick of the Crop,” features a photo Ed Wuillermin Sr. and his sons, Ed Jr. and August. In February 2016, Ed Jr. and August will be the pick of the crop again as the Vegetable Growers’ Association of New Jersey honors them with their Vegetable Grower of the Year award at their annual convention and trade show in Atlantic City.
Their farm was started by their grandfather, Augusto, and consisted of 25 acres of fruit. In 1943, after his Father’s passing, Ed Sr. continued farming and expanded into vegetables with purchases of additional land. When Ed Sr.’s brother, August, returned from the service in the late 1950s, they formed Wuillermin Bros. and farmed together until the early 1980s. At that time, they split their business into Ed Wuillermin & Sons and August C. Wuillermin Farms, respectively, and the next generation has continued the farming traditions of both operations.
Today Ed Wuillermin & Sons raise 275 acres of mixed vegetables for the fresh market and is currently owned/operated by Ed Jr. and August, with August’s sons, August and Michael, now working on the farm. The operation has always been innovative, early adopters employing labor-saving and quality-enhancing technologies (harvest aid in field, mechanical corn harvester, video color sorter for pepper packing/grading, on-farm hydro-cooler and cold storage), as well as labor management techniques (profit sharing, health benefits, and more).
Growing up on the family farm on the south side of Hammonton, Ed Jr. and August learned from a young age the importance of being involved in the organizations that impact the family business and community.
Joining the Atlantic County Board of Agriculture in 1987, August has served on nearly every committee and was president in 2001 and 2002. For more than 15 years, August, like his father before him, has been a dedicated and staunch advocate as Atlantic County’s delegate to the New Jersey Farm Bureau.
His experience and leadership have been invaluable in his current roles representing Atlantic County on the Pinelands Agricultural Advisory Committee, and as a member of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station’s Board of Managers. Following in his father’s footsteps, August was recently nominated to serve on the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture.
Likewise, Ed has also been active in the vegetable industry and community, serving as director of original Jersey Tomato Co-op; director at Vineland Produce Co-op; a charter member and first chair of the Atlantic County Agricultural Development Committee; a member of New Jersey Pinelands Commission; Councilperson, Deputy Mayor and member of the Planning Board for the Town of Hammonton; a director the New Jersey Ag Society; and as a charter member of the Atlantic County Transportation Authority.
Ed Wuillermin & Sons were among the first to enroll in the New Jersey Ag Society’s Farmers Against Hunger program and have donated thousands of pounds of produce since its inception. Ed and August have also been active in the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Pepper Advisory Committee, long-time participants in the Rutgers Vegetable IPM program, and work closely with Rutgers Cooperative Extension in adopting food safety, postharvest handling, and production technologies.