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Krichmar Produce ramping up for Chilean fruit deal

By
Keith Loria

Krichmar Produce, known for offering high-quality produce up and down the East Coast, is in its 26th year of business.

With its offices in Vineland, NJ, the company is well connected to companies from Florida to Maine, and Krichmar’s trucking operation has helped it maintain its strong reputation at a time when other companies are having a hard time moving produce.

Now that summer is over, a time when the company delivers Jersey Fresh produce, the company has turned its attention to Chile.

“We’re ramping up for our Chilean fruit deal,” said Matthew Rieti, Krichmar Produce’s transportation manager. “We bought a bunch of new equipment and we’re continuing to grow year after year.”

Clementines and cherries are expected to be strong at the end of 2021, but the company is optimistic about the entire Chilean season of products, including blueberries and other stone fruits.

“I’m very confident in the Chilean season — I haven’t heard of any weather issues or problems,” Rieti said.

The company’s fleet now consists of 15 trucks and soon-to-be 40 trailers, and its drivers have stayed loyal, so they haven’t felt the labor pressures that others have over the past year. Krichmar Produce also has hired more dispatchers over the last year, as well as bringing in more office personnel.

“Our drivers are the backbone of our company, and they know it,” Rieti said. “They really stuck with us through this whole pandemic, and everyone kept showing up for work. Because of that, we’re able to do what others aren’t. We’re able to have trucks in position to do and grab late orders more so than other companies.”

The family-oriented environment is one of the reasons that workers enjoy working at Krichmar Produce, as well as the company’s reputation for giving customers what they need.

“With all the equipment shortages and stuff like that, we’ve stayed stocked up on the wear-and-tear items and move forward to service our customers,” said Troy Krichmar, fleet manager of his family’s business. “2021 was very challenging, but at the same sense, we serviced our customers better than we could have hoped. Our workforce didn’t leave us high and dry, and we never stopped.”

The fleet of trucks are picking up at multiple locations every day, going from Pennsylvania to Delaware to New Jersey, and putting a “big puzzle” together every day.

“I don’t see our ports having a problem as of yet, but I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future,” Krichmar said. “Rising costs are always a challenge, but we know we need to make people happy.”

The commitment to fulfilling the needs of every single customer has allowed Krichmar Produce to build excellent relationships with some of the top fruit companies, and its leadership team takes a great deal of pride in doing business the right way.

“We’re honest, work hard and put the people who work for us first,” Krichmar said. “We’re always investing in the facility here. We’ve got the high-speed rollup doors for electrical and refrigeration efficiency. We updated the lighting, and off-set some costs for energy. We remodeled the office. We’re making strides in the direction of corporate while still being family-oriented at heart.”

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