Atlantic Blueberry Company

Art Galletta




Atlantic Blueberry Co.



Art Galletta is just one of the many people involved in the management of Atlantic Blueberry Company, the largest cultivated blueberry farm in the world. Art’s father, Duke, and four of his brothers started the farm in 1935 with just five acres.  Today, the company is owned and operated by the second and the third generation.

With 1,300 acres in production, Galletta noted that labor is of chief concern to their business, because they employ up to 1,200 people during the peak of the season in late June and early July. What’s more, housing is provided for about 600 employees and they must be cognizant of all of the rules and regulations that apply to migrant housing.

Concerning their employee base, employees are either hired directly through Atlantic Blueberry or crew leaders are used and they commit to bringing a certain number of workers on any given day. Employees working as harvesters are paid a piece rate but hours are also counted to ensure that employees are making the minimum wage. Galletta said he pays close attention to the wage and hour law and every employee has an identification button that is scanned in the field with the time and amount picked bring recorded.

For changes in labor laws, Galletta described how helpful the New Jersey Department of Labor is in providing an annual update on any regulatory changes. New Jersey Farm Bureau is another organization looked to for information and education about regulations.

He admitted that it can be difficult to manage labor regulations because different agencies may have opposing views on a rule. For example, when inspecting their labor camp the department of labor wanted a screen door on the front of the house, while the fire marshal wanted something else. In this case the fire marshal’s authority superceded that of the department of labor.

When it comes to communicating with employees, Galletta noted that an employee manual is given to new employees. The manual spells out the policies they rely upon in their business practices such as disciplinarian action or employee termination.

As Galletta reiterated, “Labor is a key component of our operation, especially during the summer. We try to surround ourselves with good people and just focus on our work.”