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When Victor Simas came to America in 1978, he was a high school student who needed a part-time job, and Sid Wainer, then a small produce company, happily hired him. He was familiar with farming, having grown up in Portugal and Bermuda with a year-round backyard garden and a small farm, and had a natural interest in the process. “I was always intrigued by what it actually took to grow fresh produce,” he explains, “it’s a process we tend to take for granted, but it’s fascinating to me even today when we visit a farm and see how a new fresh product is created, nurtured, and harvested.”
Victor continued to work for Sid Wainer & Son through his college and graduate school years at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, where he earned a master’s degree in business management. Victor has learned the produce business from the inside out. He indulged in his fascination with farming, as he worked with Sid and Henry Wainer through the 1980’s, bringing the concepts and innovations of the West Coast farms to the East Coast.
“We were the first to introduce high quality specialty produce, organics, and heirloom vegetables to the east coast,” he recalls, “it was an exciting time and changed the course of our business and the industry in dramatic ways.”
Today, Victor is in charge of farming operations, outside sales, and purchasing, which includes dozens of product categories. “We work to be leaders; to be the first to present chefs and consumers with items that make them more diverse and give them the ingredients they need to acquire the proper recipe,” he says.
Having been part of the company for over three decades, Victor has watched Sid Wainer & Son evolve from the “mom and pop” operation that he first walked into as a teen, to the internationally-acclaimed industry leader it is today. “We continue to grow as a company, while never forgetting our roots,” he explains.