BERGEN, N.Y. — On Friday, executives from the French-based company Bonduelle gave us a tour of their new facility in Bergen.
The company made its way into the United States by purchasing four facilities; three in Upstate New York. Those three buildings were previously owned by the processing company Allens.
"When we visited the plants, what I saw is people that were eager for improvement and they were under a company that was not looking for growth as we are," said Bonduelle America CEO Daniel Vielfaure.
This facility in Bergen processes peas, corn, green beans and carrots. It employs 33 permanent employees and 105 seasonal.
The company also purchased a packaging plant in Brockport and a processing center in Oakfield, which will focus on beans.
Vielfaure says since opening 18 months ago, it's already made a profit. He credits the dedicated employees.
"When they saw we were visiting and that we were really interested, I got the feeling that we had the right people to do what we wanted to do," Vielfaure said.
The company purchases produce from local growers. Vice president of Farm Fresh First, Michael Gardinier, says the partnership helps to create a stable market.
"It's very exciting. Processing vegetables has been a large enterprise across Western New York. It's come through some times where it has shrunk a little bit over the past four to six years but I think it will grow again," said Gardinier.
Bonduelle sells its products to Wegmans and Tops, and the CEO says expansion is in its future.
"For sure. Right now, I would say that let say another year and a half, two years, we will finalize the transition of the acquisition we made, because it was for us a fairly big acquisition, but after that for sure I believe we will fill in the capacity of the four plants that we've acquired, we will need more facilities," said Vielfaure.
For now he says they still have vegetables in the ground so they are hoping that there is not an early freeze this year.
"If we can just harvest whats in the ground right now we will be in a good position to get the growth we were looking for at a sales level," said Vielfaure.