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Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market is ideal for M. Levin & Co.

M. Levin & Co. Inc. occupies four units, H-2 to H-5, at the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market. The company moved into the new facility when it opened last June.

“If I were a box of produce, the PWPM is where I’d want to be,” said Mark Levin, chief executive officer.

“We have state-of-art banana-ripening rooms here that employ the latest technology,” he continued. “We feel that we have new doors wide open to us now, with many options that 7On April 13, Liz Scoropanos, special events manager, and Molly McGlinchey, manager, fundraising and special events for the American Diabetes Association, listen to Mark Levin, president of M. Levin Co. Inc., describe the use of his firm’s ripening rooms. In the background is Michael Bucher, a business development intern for the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market. we did not have in the old terminal market. And with us ripening about 35,000 boxes a week, this is a true asset to our company. This entire facility was built with the latest technology that focuses specifically on fresh produce.”

Established in 1906 in Philadelphia, M. Levin has a long history in the produce industry. It handles a full line of fresh fruits and vegetables and provides everything, right down to the packaging. We have a very large banana business, and we offer a full line of tropical produce. The company’s wide range of services includes rail car access, retail promotions and delivery in the Mid-Atlantic region.

The generational family business is also a special story. Mr. Levin is a third-generation family member, and he works side-by-side with his cousins, David Levin, Michael Levin and Joel Segel.

“Throughout every generation, including mine, there have been only men in the business,” said Mr. Levin. “But now the fourth generation has joined the firm, and it is all women. Tracie Levin, my daughter, is the general manager responsible for operations management and food safety among other initiatives. Sarah Levin, David’s daughter, is involved in our banana-ripening program. Margie Levin-Fischman, Michael’s daughter, is in tropical sales and foodservice, and Brenda Segel, Joel’s daughter, is in inventory control. From four male cousins in my generation, we’re moving to four female cousins in the next generation.”

M. Levin & Co. sources from around the world, and it distributes from Virginia to Toronto and west to Ohio. Mr. Levin said the company also ships some produce into New York City.

He noted that the businesses at Hunts Point Terminal Market in the Bronx, NY, deserve a new terminal. He said that he hopes they can do it at their own leisure and in the way they want it done, and before a government agency forces them to do it because of food-safety issues.

“A lot of major companies don’t want to buy from markets that aren’t up to high standards,” he added. “Building a new, highly technical facility costs a lot of money, time and effort, so it has to be worth it in the long run.”

The importance of the locally grown movement, Mr. Levin feels, is in the eye of the beholder. If New Jersey produce isn’t available, then Florida, Georgia or other states are considered local.

“You can only have local produce if it’s in season,” he said. “Years ago, people looked forward to the seasonal crops coming on. Today, you can get every item almost all year long. There’s no continuity now. If you want cherries, there’s some place in the world that’s producing them.”

Noting that Eastern produce is coming on one or more weeks early this year due to the mild winter and spring, Mr. Levin said he sees it as a good thing.

“The peaches, nectarines and other fruits coming out of Chile now aren’t very good, so it’s nice to have these items coming to us from a little south of us in the U.S.,” he said.