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JVI Imports anticipates strong pomegranate season

JVI Imports anticipates strong season of Wonderful Pomegranates

Despite ongoing supply chain challenges, JVI Imports expects consistent East Coast arrivals of Wonderful variety pomegranates for their longest-ever import season.

PHILADELPHIA – JVI Imports, BB #:104221 the import division of Philadelphia-based specialty produce wholesaler John Vena Inc., is preparing for a busy pomegranate import season. The program will kick off with Israeli imports in December, followed by counter-season fruit from Peru in March.

Israeli Season Preview

JVI Imports anticipates a strong Israeli season for 2022-23 with the first containers scheduled to arrive in mid-December. According to John Vena, President of John Vena Inc. and JVI Imports, “We’re looking at volumes almost doubling this year versus last. After such a successful 2021-22 season we’re confident that this fruit has real value in the East Coast marketplace with ample room to grow.”

The JVI Imports team is working with two of the most well-established grower cooperatives in Israel to secure the highest quality fruit. While the Israeli season extends beyond December to March, JVI is working exclusively with peak season Wonderful variety fruit. The team’s experience in past seasons suggests that the high expectations of US retailers and consumers demand this premium variety with excellent shelf life, consistent deep color, and punchy tart flavor.

Pulling from multiple pack houses gives JVI Imports access to a wide array of sizing.

According to Brandon Tran, JVI Imports Manager, “Fruit is sizing up on par with the average and we expect to see most fruit fall in the 6, 7, and 8 count range, supported by a more moderate volume of 5, 9, and 10 counts for retailers with particular needs.”

Preparation for the season has presented some challenges. While sea freight costs have declined globally, costs from the Mediterranean region have actually increased as much as 25% from a year ago. JVI still expects to be able to deliver fruit at a competitive value based on the typical market at that time.

“We believe we can still offer a competitive program despite astronomical shipping costs out of the Mediterranean and crippling port delays that just won’t go away. This has become the new normal for imports, and we’re working with our growers to adjust and find a way to make it work,” says Vena.

With harvest already underway, confidence is strong that the season will deliver on expectations. Tran anticipates the fruit will meet high standards. “Last year’s fruit was exceptional – deep color, well-formed arils, little scarring, strong keeping ability, and great flavor. So far, our growers are seeing similar results this season.”

Peruvian Outlook

After the Israeli season ends in March, the imports team is aiming for a gapless transition to supplies out of Peru, which could extend availability as late as June or July.

According to Tran, “Peru is relatively new to commercial pomegranate production. They have incredible potential, but our growers ran into stumbling blocks with harvest timing last year and our season was unexpectedly cut short. With some crucial lessons learned, we expect significantly better results this year. I expect we will see volumes from Peru at least triple over the course of the season.”

The Peruvian pomegranate supply chain is further complicated by a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) irradiation requirement, which must be completed following their arrival in the US. After encountering ongoing delays and congestion in 2022, JVI Imports is working to refine their process to minimize interruptions and decrease travel time.


Unlike domestic fruit, both Israeli and Peruvian pomegranates will be packed in net 3.8-kilogram single layer trays, the standard pack size in the international market. These packs help preserve the quality of the fruit through the supply chain and allow for more flexibility at retail and foodservice.

Fruit will also arrive with US-compliant GTIN-12 GS1 DataBar stickers. “Last year we received positive feedback from retail clients on the inclusion of a scannable DataBar. With more and more of our partners relying on self-checkout and struggling with employee turnover, the DataBar has become an invaluable tool for ensuring inventory accuracy and improving the checkout experience. Without it there is just too much risk,” reports Tran.

Additional Programs

Aside from pomegranates, the JVI Imports team will also continue to offer a program for Israeli citrus, including Orri mandarins, Sunrise red grapefruit, and a limited volume of Sweetie grapefruit.

The firm will also bring Israeli Sharon fruit and a modest volume of Spanish rojo brillante persimmons to the table for 2022-23.

“While we’re paying a lot of attention to delivering an exceptional pomegranate program, I’m no less excited for Israeli citrus and Mediterranean persimmons,” says Vena. “I’ve been handling these items from these growing regions for over two decades, and I know first-hand the value they bring to our customers.”

About John Vena Inc. & JVI Import

Established in 1919, John Vena Inc. (JVI) is a fourth-generation, family-owned and -operated specialty produce importer, wholesaler, and distributor providing a full suite of supply chain services including repacking, ripening, and logistics. JVI handles a wide range of specialty and premium items for foodservice, retail, and processing, including fresh herbs, greenhouse vegetables, gourmet foods, tropical fruits, ethnic produce, wild edibles, microgreens, edible flowers, and baby vegetables.

JVI Imports is the in-house import division of John Vena Inc. building on decades of experience importing and marketing specialty, exotic, and tropical items across the Eastern United States.

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