Dandrea Produce doing its part to help its community

dandrea22 Dandrea Produce LLC is doing its part to ensure its customers and employees are staying safe during the coronavirus crisis, and is also making sure the greater community at large is healthy and fed during this crucial time.

“Our commitment to our community is stronger than ever,” said Steve Dandrea, vice president of the Vineland, NJ-based company. “We distribute donation boxes each week and partnered with a local restaurant and other local businesses to feed over 250 families in Vineland in early May.”

The company has adjusted to the pandemic by staying up-to-date with protocols regarding social and business distancing. That has meant remote work, split shifts and increased PPE for all employees, allowing Dandrea Produce to continue to operate safely.

“Produce consumption has grown dramatically and consumers are gravitating towards value-added packaged products,” Dandrea said. “Our in-house packing facility has answered the call.”

That’s not surprising when you look at the company’s storied history, which began as a farming operation in 1917, and what has always been at the forefront of success — a strong family dynamic and loyal employees.

“Our success is because of our team,” Dandrea said. “Our employees are loyal, hardworking and committed to excellence.”

The company’s vertical business model helps it stand out from the crowd as it remains a true farm-to-table operation. For instance, its full-service facility in Vineland houses repack equipment, cold storage, hydrocoolers, and Dandrea Produce’s own fleet of trucks. It also has several remote expediting offices to streamline its import programs.

“In 2019, we added several private label programs to our distribution,” Dandrea said. “We have seen increased demand for private labels in 2020 and are continuing to expand. Retailers are promoting themselves vs. private brands and clearly the consumer is rewarding them with loyalty.”

Being in New Jersey is also a key component to the company’s success and its long legacy in the grower community is well known.

“We have been a part of that community for over 100 years and we are thrilled to contribute to what has become a very successful locally grown program,” Dandrea said.

“The Garden State is centrally located in the Northeast corridor, in close proximity to New York, Baltimore, Washington, DC, and Boston.” 

So far in 2020, Dandrea noted most crops are looking promising with good supply and strong demand.  

“We have experienced a 15 percent decrease on lettuce crops and a 20 percent increase on herbs and organics,” he said. “Increased sales begin with local product and end with promotions.” 

It’s been a noteworthy year for the company. In March, it announced a joint venture and marketing agreement with Tomato Thyme and the Torres family.

The tomatoes offered are vine-ripened, offering a great shelf life and the eating quality that Dandrea called “second to none.”

“The types of tomatoes that we’ll be handling will be the rounds and their beefsteaks, Romas, grapes, and cherries,” he said. “We believe this is the finest eating-quality tomato in the world.”

That deal has helped Dandrea Produce in its growth, expansion, and marketing throughout the Northeast.

“We also kicked off our first California citrus initiative this year with amazing results. We added Dave Greco to our sales team to head our year-round citrus category,” Dandrea said.

“And we established a 102-acre organic program in New Jersey,” he added.

On a more somber note, company co-owner Ron Dandrea passed away in April at the age of 57 after a nearly two-year battle with pancreatic cancer.

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