Audrey Hill, Valley Ag Voice
The year was 1922 when the Giumarra Companies began. Since their start at the Los Angeles Union Terminal Market, they have grown to be an international powerhouse for moving, marketing and growing produce. The Giumarra label “Nature’s Partner” can be found in almost all major grocery stores in the United States and Canada. They also work with many other producers across the world to provide the highest quality, best tasting fruits and vegetables for their customers. Stakeholders of Giumarra Companies, such as former president and current chairman of the Giumarra Companies, Don Corsaro, take pride in staying true to their original values and attribute the success of the company to continual dedication. Their mission states: “We are committed to the people we work with and those we serve. Very simply, we look to provide the best service and work to improve upon it every day.” These goals can be seen through what the companies have done while bringing delicious, high quality produce to millions over the past 100 years.
The first Giumarra Brothers Fruit Company was a small stand in the open aired portion of the Los Angeles Union Terminal Market, now called the Los Angeles 7th Street Produce Market. Giuseppe “Joe” Giumarra founded the company with help from his brother George Giumarra Sr., and brother-in-law Dominick Corsaro. They sold mainly navel oranges from Highland, California, an area in the northwest portion San Bernardino. According to the recent article, Giumarra Companies Celebrates 100 Years in Produce, Joe Giumarra would drive to Highland, CA regularly to pick up these oranges directly from the grower while George Giumarra Sr. and Dominick Corsaro sold and managed produce wholesale (Packer, 2022).
The year 1939 became a major shift for the company’s focus. As the company continued to improve their quality in service and produce in Los Angeles, the Giumarra Brothers Fruit Company bought land in Bakersfield in 1939 to start what would become Giumarra Vineyards. Now, Giumarra Vineyards is one of the largest table grape growers in California, ranking 5th largest grape grower in Growing Produce in 2014.
Giumarra Vineyards’ growth has continued in the realm of breeding grape varieties. In partnership with the Karniel family and Grapa Varieties, the “ARRA” table grape launched in 2009. ARRA grapes have made a worldwide impact. In Grapa Varieties’ news article announcing development of ARRA in India, the company states: “Since the launch of the first ARRA variety in 2009, Grapa has licensed over 10,000 hectares around the world, with a focus on Chile, Peru and Brazil, but with production now in around two dozen countries including South Africa, Australia, and Italy, as well as many other important regions” (2019).
The Giumarra Brothers Fruit Company went from being a small orange marketer to the ever-growing company it is today. Here are just a few highlights:
• Giumarra Reedley, the Central Valley-grown stone fruit, exotics, and citrus division, was first to be incorporated in 1968 with Don Jost.
• The Giumarra Nogales division was incorporated in 1971 with Elva “Vita” Carlota Podesta and her company Agricola Santa Teresa S.A de C.V. in Sinaloa, Mexico to market Santa Teresa tomatoes. In 1993 Giumarra partnered with Videxport and the Salazar family in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico to incorporate their grapes and watermelons into the division. Now the Nogales division imports grapes, melons, and other vegetables with Fair Trade Certified and USDA Certified Organic labels from Mexico.
• In 1982, the company opened an avocado processing, packing, quality control and marketing center in Escondido, CA to produce avocados from California, Chile, Mexico, and Peru year-round.
• Giumarra has also expanded to incorporate Giumarra Asparagus to provide year around supply of asparagus to grocery stores in the US and Canada, moving Fair Trade Certified asparagus from Mexico, Peru, and California.
• Giumarra Long Beach centers itself on sourcing grapes, stone fruit, citrus, and exotics from the Northern and Southern Hemisphere.
• Giumarra’s Wenatchee division markets imported and domestic apples, pears, and some citrus. They also provide a year-round availability to kiwi fruit.
Their small start in 1922 at the Los Angeles Union Terminal Market was backed with a dedication to make Giumarra a customer friendly experience with great service and great, healthy produce. Now, they provide produce, fruits from trees, vines, and bushes as well as vegetables from squash vines and pepper plants to a large part of the United States.