The rich history of Black River Produce

We’ve come a long way since 1978 when our two founders, Steve Birge and Mark Curran, started Black River Produce. Back then, the idea was simple; sell produce to local restaurants. With $600 between them, they sold fruits and veggies out of a used VW bus with the slogan, “Give Peas a Chance” painted on the side. The goal was modest: make enough money to fund their self-proclaimed, ski-bum lifestyle. The results? Well, that old VW bus has evolved into a fleet of 53 refrigerated trucks and 150 employees. We may be a well-established regional food distributor today, but our passion for delivering fresh food straight from the farms and makers we serve, remains steadfast.


Join our family!

We take pride in the underlying, but central role, we play as the fresh connection between regional producers and our foodservice and retail customers. True, we may have grown considerably since our early days. Despite the good fortunes that have come our way, we’re still driven by the things that mattered to us then—our family of employees, the greater community, and environmental stewardship.

Come grow with us! Join our team of warehouse workers, drivers, customer service reps and sales reps.

Donation Requests

While we cannot support every worthwhile endeavor, we are happy to see if your donation request fits well with our goals of helping to support our local agricultural community, and to build a more dynamic local food system.


Founded in Ludlow, Vermont, by Steve Birge and Mark Curran to supply quality, fresh fruits and vegetables to local Vermont restaurants.

Mark and Steve took turns driving the van to the Boston wholesale market for fresh produce for their Ludlow retail store. On each trip to Boston, they also stopped at local farms along the route to gather as much fresh local produce as possible to bring back to their store. To help fill their van at the Boston wholesale market, they contacted a few local restaurants to see if they could pick up some fresh produce for them as well. Local chefs spread the word and within a year, Steve and Mark were supplying more than 30 restaurants.


The food distribution business expanded to include fresh and frozen seafood as well as fresh-cut flowers.


Black River Produce moved to a 65,000-square foot facility in North Springfield, Vermont, to accommodate the expanding product line of their fine food distribution company.

Black River Meats was born.


An abandoned Ben & Jerry’s plant was transformed into a state-of-the-art, 50,000 square foot meat processing facility. This opened market opportunities for Vermont and regional farmers to serve the growing market for locally-raised and family-farmed meats.


Reinhart Foodservice purchases Black River Produce.


Performance Foodservice purchases Reinhart Foodservice, giving Black River Produce a renewed investment in warehousing transportation and logistics. Most importantly, as an independent operating company of Performance Foodservice, Black River Produce has been encouraged to reinvigorate our deeply-rooted connection between local makers and our customers.


Today, Black River Produce has more than 3,000 wholesale customers, including stores, schools, restaurants, clubs, camps, ski areas, hospitals, nursing homes and farm stands throughout Vermont, New Hampshire, Eastern upstate New York and Western Massachusetts.