Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - 94


RETAIL/DISTRIBUTION

VERITABLE VEGETABLE
www.veritablevegetable.com / HQ: San Francisco / Employees: 135 / Specialty: Organic produce distributor /
Mary Jane Evans, CEO: "Close working relationships is what we have practiced since day one."

Industry Shapers

Veritable Vegetable prides itself on being a thought leader of the organic produce
industry and demonstrating its values in every part of its business. BY JANICE HOPPE

Veritable Vegetable's owners (clockwise from left) Mary Jane Evans, Karen
Salinger and Bu Nygrens believe in operating the business for the greater good.

V

eritable

Vegetable

has

been a leader in the distribution
of organic produce distribution
for more than 40 years. What makes the
company unique is that it continues to
shape the industry while staying true
to the core set of values it was founded
upon. "We consider ourselves a social enterprise that uses the power of business
to solve social and environmental problems," says Bu Nygrens, co-owner and
director of purchasing.
The San Francisco-based company
was founded as part of a movement in the

94 www.wdimagazine.com Spring 2016

mid-1970s that sought to bring low-cost,
nutritious food to neighborhood co-ops
and community storefronts. The collectives, called The People's Food System,
extended throughout the greater San
Francisco Bay Area and provided a largescale alternative to the existing corporate
food system.
At that time, more farmers rediscovered organic farming and developed new
organic production techniques. Veritable Vegetable established relationships
with many of these growers and began
distributing produce beyond the origi-

nal People's Food System. The company
invested in promoting sustainable farming practices and policies, and extending
knowledge about organic food and agricultural issues.
Today, 60 percent of Veritable Vegetable's business is in the retail sector and of
that about 40 percent is with co-ops. The
company also works with restaurants,
corporate campuses, meal delivery programs and universities. Its distribution
area spans California, Nevada, Arizona,
New Mexico and southwestern Colorado, and it ships to Hawaii.
"Through the years, Veritable Vegetable has been an integral part of change in
the sustainable food system movement
by stimulating an increased demand for
fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, developing certification standards, working
to pass food and agriculture legislation,
helping to unify the produce community, and supplying healthy, fresh foods to
communities all over California and beyond," Nygrens says.

BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS
The unifying principle of the People's
Food System was "food for people, not
for profit," and Veritable Vegetable embodies that by operating with the greater
good in mind. It offers fair prices when
buying, selling and hauling, and provides
good wages, benefits and equipment to
its staff. Veritable Vegetable was founded
on the principles of collaboration, cooperation and interconnectedness that it
maintains at its core today.


http://www.wdimagazine.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016

Contents
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