Celebrating 90 Years of Business!

Our company was founded in 1934 and for close to a century, the company has been providing high-quality fresh fruit and vegetables to customers across the Midwest.

Headquartered in Milwaukee, V. Marchese Inc. started as a small, family-owned distributor of fruits and vegetables. Over the decades, the company has grown into one of the largest wholesale produce suppliers in the region. While V. Marchese sells a wide variety of produce, they are best known for bananas, which feature prominently in their branding and marketing.

Today, V. Marchese Inc. supplies fresh fruits and vegetables to supermarkets, restaurants, schools, and other food service operations. Their fleet of refrigerated trucks with the iconic Banana Jack logo delivers produce from farms around the world to customers across Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana, and beyond.

With extensive experience, modern facilities, our scale and reliability makes us a leading produce provider in the Midwest.

Founding and Early History

V. Marchese Inc. has a long and storied history that dates back to 1932 when Italian immigrant Vito Marchese founded the company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Born in Sicily, Vito moved to the United States in the late 1920s in search of opportunity. After working various jobs, he saw a demand for high-quality fresh fruits and vegetables in Milwaukee.

In the early 1930s, Vito unofficially started his own small produce distribution company focused exclusively on produce. He called it V. Marchese and operated out of a small warehouse in Milwaukee. Vito built the business through dedication and quality service. He purchased bananas directly from growers in Central America and distributed them to local establishments and in Milwaukee.

Within a few years, Vito expanded the offerings to include other fruits like oranges, lemons, and limes. He purchased a refrigerated truck to transport the perishable produce. His commitment to fresh, high-quality fruits earned the loyalty of grocers and restaurants in the Milwaukee area during the 1930s and 1940s. 

In the 70’s, Jake Marchese was looking to detail the delivery trucks for the company, and in that process, that is where the company adopted the banana “Jack” logo, which remains an iconic symbol of the brand today.

Growth and Expansion

V. Marchese Inc. has grown significantly since its founding in the 1930s. The company started as a small fruit distributor in Milwaukee but has expanded across multiple states over the decades.

In the 1950s, V. Marchese was managed and owned by Carmello and Giacomo (Jake) these brothers ran the company with only seven employees for the most part most were family members (nephews, sons, daughters, and nieces).

In the 1970s, V. Marchese acquired the Italian Banana “Jack” as the signature logo for the trucks.

The 1990s brought further growth, with V. Marchese increasing its sales presence and developing great relationships with produce management, procurement, and consulting companies that forced the growth of today.

Today, V. Marchese has over 250 employees, a sister fresh produce processing company, and the ability to distribute across over ten states. This allows it to distribute bananas, pineapples, melons, grapes, and other fresh produce throughout the Midwest. The company has grown from a small Milwaukee fruit peddler to one of the largest fresh fruit distributors in the area.

Alongside geographic growth, V. Marchese has expanded its product and service offerings. In addition to bananas, the company now supplies many other fruits. It also provides transportation, logistics, ripening, and other value-added services for retail and food service customers. V. Marchese started with bananas in Milwaukee but today distributes diverse fresh produce nationwide.

Products and Services

V. Marchese Inc. is best known as a fresh fruit and vegetable distributor in Wisconsin and surrounding states. Our company provides families and businesses throughout the upper Midwest with high-quality produce, including bananas, berries, avocados, tomatoes, lettuce, and much more.

We fresh produce to major grocery store chains, independent grocers, restaurants, schools, hospitals, and other food service operations. Our company has a large fleet of refrigerated trucks that deliver fresh fruits and vegetables from farms across North America to customers daily.

Over the years, V. Marchese has innovated distribution capabilities to ensure the highest quality produce reaches customers quickly. For example, our company utilizes a ripening technology called FBRM (forced air banana ripening modules) to ripen bananas and other fruits to the optimum stage for sweetness and shelf life. V. Marchese also has packing facilities to create customized packages of fresh produce for customers.

Beyond produce distribution, V. Marchese provides value-added services like repackaging, ripening capabilities, inventory management, and direct store delivery to meet customer needs. The company also has extensive category management expertise to help grocers merchandise and market fresh produce in their stores.

Food Safety and Quality Assurance

In an era where food safety is paramount, consumers crave reassurance and trust in the products they consume. V. Marchese Inc., a visionary in the food industry, stands tall as a guardian of public health and an epitome of excellence. With a strong emphasis on high-level third-party audits, a reliable food traceability program, and unwavering compliance with government regulations, V. Marchese Inc. takes leaps to ensure the safety and well-being of its customers.

Uncompromising Commitment to Third-Party Audits

V. Marchese Inc. spares no effort in ensuring its commitment to food safety through third party audits. These audits serve as a testament to the company’s dedication to meeting and exceeding industry standards. V. Marchese Inc. undergoes rigorous inspections to evaluate every aspect of its operations, starting from raw materials to the final packaging stage. These audits scrutinize factors such as hygiene practices, manufacturing processes, employee food safety training, and facility maintenance. Through this commitment, V. Marchese not only demonstrates its adherence to the highest food safety protocols but also maintains an unwavering focus on quality assurance. In our 2024 annual PrimusGFS produce audit, V. Marchese achieved an audit score of 100%. That is unheard of in our industry. 

Reliable Food Traceability Program: Transparency at its Best

V. Marchese Inc. recognizes the significance of transparency and accountability in the food industry. It has implemented a rock-solid food traceability program, meticulously tracking every step of its supply chain journey. From farm to processing, and ultimately to the customer’s table, every ingredient’s history is stored using cutting-edge technology. This program ensures that in the event of a recall or identifying potential safety concerns, V. Marchese Inc. can swiftly trace and remove affected products from the market, reducing any potential risk to consumers. By embracing this traceability, V. Marchese Inc. makes it clear that they take customers’ welfare seriously, providing them with peace of mind and confidence in the products they choose.

Unwavering Compliance with Government Regulations

No corners are cut in V. Marchese Inc.’s pursuit of providing safe, healthy food products. The company maintains uncompromising compliance with government regulations, ensuring that all levels and aspects are met and exceeded. By diligently adhering to these regulations, V. Marchese Inc. stands as a guarantee of uncompromised quality and safety. Not only does this commitment align with legal requirements, but it also assures customers that meticulous efforts are taken to minimize risks and guarantee the highest standards. Recognizing that compliance is merely the starting point, V. Marchese Inc. continuously seeks advancements and improvements to stay at the forefront of safety and meet evolving industry regulations.

 Trust and Reassurance Through Unmatched Commitment

V. Marchese Inc.’s commitment to food safety is unwavering, employing stringent third-party audits, a reliable food traceability program, and unwavering compliance with government regulations. By embracing these pillars of safety, customers can trust that V. Marchese Inc. goes above and beyond to ensure their well-being. While quality products are essential, V. Marchese Inc. recognizes that building trust and reassurance goes hand in hand with safety. With V. Marchese Inc., customers can be confident that their food has undergone rigorous scrutiny and emerged as a testament to excellence. In a world where food safety is paramount, V. Marchese Inc. remains a steadfast leader in the industry, creating a legacy of trust and commitment to its customers.

Facilities and Operations

V. Marchese operates a large distribution center and corporate headquarters located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This 67,827 square foot facility houses the company’s main warehouse and distribution operations, along with administrative offices.

The distribution process starts with produce being sourced directly from growers.  The Produce is harvested, packaged, and shipped via refrigerated trucks to the V. Marchese warehouse and inspected for quality control.

V. Marchese operates a vertically integrated supply chain from sourcing to delivery, with its large Milwaukee facility serving as the hub for banana inventory, ripening, and distribution. This centralized facility and in-house fleet enable V. Marchese to provide fresh produce to meet customer needs reliably.

Branding and Marketing

V. Marchese Inc. has become recognizable over the decades thanks to its signature Banana Jack logo that was adopted in 70’s. The anthropomorphic smiling banana was an early advertising creation meant to highlight the company’s banana-importing business. Since then, Banana Jack has remained an iconic symbol of the V. Marchese brand.

The cheerful Banana Jack can be found prominently featured on all of V. Marchese’s delivery trucks, delivery uniforms, advertisements, and merchandise. His friendly face connects the company to its past while still feeling fresh and modern. Banana Jack helps give V. Marchese’s fleet of trucks and products a distinct, easily identifiable look.

In addition to the classic Banana Jack logo, V. Marchese employs other branding elements like its trademark banana yellow color for trucks, branded driver uniforms, and custom tropical fruit crate designs. While the logo and color palette create an overarching brand identity, the company designs unique crate artwork and graphics for individual produce items. This allows customers to identify V. Marchese crates at a glance quickly.

V. Marchese’s in-house marketing team continues to find new and creative ways to use Banana Jack and other branding to market.