JVI was founded in 1919 with one purpose…to connect farmers and the products they grow to the families of folks that need fresh produce. That’s what we did then, and what we are doing today. For four generations we have offered fresh produce items from farmers and growers that we know and with whom we have relationships.
In the early years, as a wholesaler, it was pretty basic. The farmers were close by in the growing regions surrounding Philadelphia, and there were plenty of them. As the area grew, many of those nearby growers left farming to accommodate that growth. Transportation and farming technology and equipment got better and better, and John Vena, Inc. was able to offer its customers a wider range of products and an expanding seasonal availability. Generally, our customer’s needs and requests pushed us to supply many items year ‘round, and we did the best we could to satisfy them. This led us further and further from Philadelphia and introduced us to growing areas that we hadn’t considered. These new regions and new relationships offered possibilities to source counter seasonal products or those that don’t grow well domestically. In many cases, the experience and skill of farmers in the many micro-climates around the world produce items that are far superior to, or simply can’t be grown in the USA.
Our mission hasn’t changed. We want to bring the best, freshest produce to market. Our product offering however, has changed considerably. The growing demands for the newest, sweetest, most colorful, exotic, or just different has motivated us to develop relationships with trusted farmers wherever they are located. In many cases, those items will come from our farmers across the Delaware River, in other cases from our friends across the Mediterranean Sea.
We have dealt with pioneers in greenhouse and drip-irrigation farming from the Middle East to the Mid-West. Our newest partnership will allow us to distribute greenhouse produce grown in Bucks County, PA to our customers.
Our job was, and continues to be, to serve as the connection between the farmers we have come to know and trust and you, our customers. According to John Pandol of Pandol Brothers, Inc., Delano, CA in an article that appeared in Produce Business magazine in June of 2012, agriculture has “concentrated in the places with the best seasons”. And like Mr. Pandol, here in the Philadelphia area, we like our tomatoes from Jersey, our mangoes from Mexico and our blood oranges from Sicily.