FOREST PARK, GA — The J.J. Jardina Co. was founded in Gainesville, GA, in 1925 and has been serving clients throughout the Southeast from its spot on the Atlanta Farmers Market for years. Specializing in apples, citrus and Chilean fruit, the company is one of the Southeast’s leading distributors of fresh fruit. Now in its third generation of family ownership, the J.J. Jardina Co. has become well-known for its charitable nature and giving back to the community it serves.
A year ago, the Jardina family — and the entire produce industry — was stunned by the sudden and untimely passing ofVice President Mark Jardina. Within months, Mr. Jardina’s wife, Joanna, had set up the M.A. Jardina Foundation to help underprivileged children get involved in sports. And in September, the J.J. Jardina Co. hosted the foundation’s first charity golf tournament, which will be an annual event.
“We’ve already had a couple of runs and several other fundraising events but the golf tournament is the first annual and it sold out in minutes, literally minutes,” said Chief Executive Officer Mike Jardina. “We want to thank all our customers and vendors for all the support.”
And while the tournament serves as a memorial, “It’s really more of a celebration of Mark’s life,” he added.
That is characteristic of the J.J. Jardina Co. way of doing business.
“We try to be as charitable as possible, we give back every chance we get,” Mr. Jardina said.
The J.J. Jardina Co. sponsors many fundraising activities in the Atlanta area such as Laurens Run and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta fundraisers. For the last two years the company has been a supporter of baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Phil Niekro’s Skins and Fins combination golf and fishing tournament since its inception. The tournament benefits Operation One Voice, a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to raising funds and awareness for the financial needs of the children and families of wounded and fallen Special Operations Forces soldiers.
To support their charitable concerns, the Jardinas sell fruit — lots of it. The J.J. Jardina Co. occupies a Primus-certified 30,000-square-foot warehouse on the Atlanta market. The company services retail, food service and wholesale companies, with overnight deliveries to all Southeastern states and also offers freight forwarding for just-in-time vendor replenishment. With years of procurement expertise and buying power, J.J. Jardina has access to top quality and best pricing across all major fruit categories.
The company is also happy to be getting some support from the Georgia Department of Agriculture these days.
“The apple order right now is all over the place — I’ve never seen such a spread on apple prices,” Mr. Jardina said. “The only thing that’s predictable right now is everybody wants Georgia apples. Our sales in Georgia apples are five times higher than they’ve ever been. We’ve had a bumper crop, but the main thing is the Georgia Department of Agriculture is pushing the ‘Georgia Grown’ program so well. They do a very good job and that really helps us with local product — like muscadines, scuppernongs from Paulk Vineyards, we handle those — just the recognition they have brought to ‘Georgia Grown’ has really helped. Thank Commissioner Gary Black for that one. They’re doing a great job.”
Also helping boost Jardina’s fortunes was the addition of another brother to the staff, joining Mike and President Larry Jardina.
“Our brother Matt came in roughly a year ago, in November,” Mike Jardina said. “He’s coming on real well and has far exceeded my expectations at this point; he’s ahead of where he should be.”