Krichmar Produce continues to add to fleet
For more than a quarter century, Krichmar Produce has prided itself on providing businesses from Florida to Maine with the finest quality fruits and vegetables, thanks in part to a trucking operation it added to the company approximately 15 years ago.
As of mid-May, the company was enjoying one of its finest seasons to date and is looking forward to the Jersey deal, which is starting soon.
“The trucks are doing a great job,” said Matt Rieti, who works on the veg side of the business for Krichmar Produce, while overseeing the transportation side and company. “Of course, things are more expensive now, which everyone is seeing in America.”
Another challenge that many in the industry are experiencing is a lack of drivers. Krichmar hasn’t been as impacted because it has a stable workforce, so it’s keeping its fleet full with drivers on the road.
The company is taking on some new equipment soon, so the fleet will be well over 40 trailers by spring with 25-plus power units. There are also around 25 independents who work for the company.
Working in New Jersey fits well with Krichmar Produce, as the state provides a nice hub between New York and Boston.
“We’re in a good area — we have good farms and good product, and the Garden State is in the perfect spot,” Rieti said.
The New Jersey deal starts off with cabbage and cucumbers, lettuces, parsley, cilantro and greens, which will lead to the July crops of string beans, peppers, corn, blueberries and tomatoes.
The keys to solidifying strong relationships with the farmers the company represents comes down to being fair, trustworthy and doing right by everyone.
“We grow the customer base by word of mouth,” Rieti said. “Most of the relationships we have with customers, we’ve had for years. They are long-standing relationships based on our good reputation.”
The produce market is obviously always fluctuating, but the company sees parsley as one of the most in-demand items right now. Though things change rapidly, so Krichmar Produce knows it always has to be prepared with all items, and it’s known for always having what’s needed.
Krichmar Produce continues to hire new people and is constantly growing, bringing in new blood and experienced experts.
“We’re expanding dispatchers, we’re looking to hire another dock supervisor to make life easier, and we are constantly looking to grow,” Rieti said. “We’re very fortunate because Troy (Krichmar) and myself are the next generation of Krichmar and we are young enough and have the ambition to weed though people to get to the right people for the job. When we find the best, we compensate them and make them want to stay.”