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OPN Connect Newsletter 227 · July 22, 2021

Veg-Land's JBJ Distributing Expands Organic Mini Peppers and Brussels Sprouts Programs


For more than 35 years, the Matiasevich family has been growing, processing, and distributing the highest-quality fruits and vegetables, resulting in Veg-Land becoming one of the most dynamic distributors of organic and conventional produce in the United States and Canada.

The company was founded in 1976 by brothers Jim and John Matiasevich for the purpose of consolidating all the mixed produce and floral products for Safeway's US and Canadian stores. Today, Veg-Land operates out of a 105,000-square-foot warehouse in Fullerton, CA, and provides cross docking, consolidation, storage, repacking, and local transportation services.

Stemilt September 2021

Jim and John Matiasevich, Founders, Veg-Land

JBJ Distributing was founded under the Veg-Land umbrella in 1980 with the sole purpose of servicing the needs of major supermarkets and foodservice establishments with a complete assortment of specialty produce.

“In 1988, JBJ added a full line of organic produce to its product offerings, making a commitment to help the small organic farmer bring their crops to mainstream retailers,” said Dominic Etcheberria, the company’s general manager. “Since then, JBJ has continued to be a leader in certified organic produce, offering customers a fully customizable private label program.”

Dominic Etcheberria, General Manager, Veg-Land

Organics Unlimited September 2021

Today, JBJ works directly with each retailer to develop packaging programs to fit their needs and better promote the sale of organic produce under the Organic Veg-Land label.

“In 1988, JBJ added a full line of organic produce to its product offerings, making a commitment to help the small organic farmer bring their crops to mainstream retailers.” – Dominic Etcheberria

“In the beginning, retailers were skeptical of taking large volumes of organic produce [without] knowing the potential movement,” Etcheberria said. “JBJ created saleable boxes, which reduced the quantity in half, and also created consumer-friendly packaging such as grab-and-go one-pound bags.”

Red Sun Farms September 2021

Organic produce represents nearly 90 percent of all JBJ product sold, and it continues to grow year after year.

Recently, the company made commitments with new growers to guarantee production on brussels sprouts and mini sweet peppers to add to its existing supplies of year-round dry vegetables. It has doubled its acreage of mini sweets in 2021.

“This summer, JBJ will be offering sweet corn trimmed and wrapped in three-pack and four-pack trays,” said Rob Gurney, sales manager. “As we emerge from the current state of the pandemic, JBJ sees the future of organic produce as the vehicle to continue to promote a healthy way of life.”

Starr Ranch September 2021

Rob Gurney, Sales Manager, Veg-Land

“Our organic sales continue to increase year after year, and much of our growth can be attributed to our strong grower relationships, our consistent year-round supply on key items, and our customer service,” Gurney said. “Our focus is making sure we’re getting the best returns for our growers, so they can continue to be in business. Production costs are rising every year, and sometimes it’s not easy to pass those costs on to your customers, but we’ve been able to put together some very fair and equitable contracts with many of our customers, which really helps us keep our dedicated organic farmers in business.”

“As we emerge from the current state of the pandemic, JBJ sees the future of organic produce as the vehicle to continue to promote a healthy way of life.” – Rob Gurney  

NatureSafe September 2021

Because the company focuses on retail accounts and doesn’t service many foodservice accounts, it stayed strong throughout the pandemic and continued to see growth in sales.

“Our organic sales continue to increase year after year, and much of our growth can be attributed to our strong grower relationships, our consistent year-round supply on key items, and our customer service.” – Rob Gurney

Fresh Cut Inc. another company under the Veg-Land umbrella, was founded in 2008 as a way to offer customers a full line of fresh cut conventional and organic fruits and vegetables.

“Currently, Fresh Cut Inc. operates in two state-of-the-art clean rooms, which were developed using the latest UV technology and [adhere to] the strict food safety guidelines of both the FDA and USDA,” Etcheberria said. “Fresh Cut Inc. hand cuts its products daily to ensure consistency, freshness, and shelf life. We believe that this hand-cut style is what sets us apart from our competitors. This program is customizable to our customers' needs.”

Valent September 2021
Decco September 2021
OGS September 2021
Duncan September 2021

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