In 1683, four Sheppard brothers (Thomas, James, David, and John) moved to Back Neck, 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, New Jersey 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 the tractor.
Gilbert’s son, David T. Sheppard, Sr. continued the family farm tradition upon arriving home from Belgium, where he was injured fighting during World War II. David expanded the farm’s holdings by purchasing and farming 40 more acres of land on Sayres Neck Road.
In 1980, Sheppard Farms, Inc. was incorporated under the leadership of David Sr. and his sons David Jr. and G. Erwin who had graduated from Cornell University. In only a few short years another son Thomas, who also graduated from Cornell University, joined Sheppard Farms, Inc.
Today, Sheppard Farms, Inc. has expanded into a 1,500 acre farm. The farm is still operated by Erwin and Tom Sheppard. During the peak of the season, Sheppard Farms employs up to 160 workers including the next generation of the family, Erwin’s son Brandon who attended Rutgers University, nephew-in-law Fran who attended Rowan University and received a degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Finance, and Tom’s son Alex who attended North Carolina State University for his BS in Mechanical Engineering, and later obtained his MBA from Old Dominion University.
Eastern Fresh Growers was incorporated in 1984 and now employs, at its peak season, 100 employees. Currently, our facility has two separate temperature controlled packing areas, sanitizer monitoring and injection systems, three methods of precooling produce before storage and shipping, a separate climate controlled palletizing area, and numerous software platforms which are integrated to allow for proper record keeping and to facilitate in management decisions.
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.
We have always taken pride in our finished product, thus we look for ways to continue improvements. Most recently in 2015, we added a new electronic asparagus packing line to aid in our asparagus packing operations. In 2016 we added a second electronic asparagus line.