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Perfect weather results in perfect wet items at Mike & Matt’s

Jerry Mongelluzzo, president of Mike & Matt’s Produce Co. LLC in Vineland, NJ, told The Produce News in mid-May that the company was moving wet vegetables.

“We’ve had perfect growing conditions for these crops,” Mr. Mongelluzzo said May 18. “The leafy greens, lettuces and herbs are [showing] excellent quality this year. We’ll run these items through the end of June.”

He noted that wet items aren’t grown in New Jersey in the summer because it is too hot. Instead, they love cool nights and just enough daytime heat to help them grow.

“Yellow and green squash will start on May 21,” he continued. “This is earlier than normal by about seven days, but the quality is [looking to be] outstanding. Then we’ll move into cucumbers around the first of June. These are two of our mainstay items. Around the middle of June, we’ll move into eggplant, peppers, green beans and pickles. These will run all the way to the first frost, usually in early November.”

Growers, he added, are using hoops and other techniques available today in an attempt to lengthen the season on dry vegetables.

Mike & Matt’s Produce Co. also handles New Jersey blueberries and peaches.

“Locally grown is a big deal today,” said Mr. Mongelluzzo. “We use the ‘Jersey Fresh’ stickers on our local items. Local purveyors especially want Jersey product when it’s available. With fuel prices so high today, people want to buy as close as possible.”

Mike & Matt’s is particularly proud of its service abilities. “Customers can call in the a.m. and get delivery that p.m.,” said Mr. Mongelluzzo. “You can’t get that anywhere else. Our in-house trucking services enable us to move really fast on our local orders.”

Mr. Mongelluzzo and his assistant, Merle Forester, handle sales for the company. It distributes up and down the East Coast, as far west as Cleveland and into Canada. The company has been in business for 14 years.

Mr. Mongelluzzo is also in the retail business. He opened Jersey Jerry’s in Vineland in 2009. The store offers fresh produce and groceries, and it has a deli.

“My son, Matt, runs the store,” he said. “We’ll be celebrating our second anniversary on August 1. It’s going great, and we are looking forward to a terrific future.”