Our History

1952 – The Founders

Just arrived from Holland, Pierre and John Van Winden bought their first land in Sherrington in southern Quebec, a few kilometers from the United States’ border. Muck soils are then rarely exploited by the people in the area because of their lack of drainage. The work of the Ministry of Agriculture on nearby rivers will allow the drainage by facilitating the flow of water. Peter and John, who have experienced these types of soils in their native land, know how to cultivate the fields, excellent for growing vegetables.

In the following years, Arie Van Winden joined his two brothers in Quebec. Working the land takes place as a group, each helping with farm work by taking turns on their neighbors’ land.

1969 – Start of cooperation

In the 60s and 70s, the three brothers join forces with other farmers in the region to establish an onion packing cooperative, and later the SAPEC, a carrot packing cooperative. These initiatives facilitate the marketing of farm products.

1978 – Second generation

The children of Pierre and John are gradually taking over from their parents. A second generation is involved in the production and marketing of vegetables. Still active to this day, several ​​Van Winden cousins are involved in the company’s activities.

1984 to 1990 – Expansion outside Quebec

Following the appearance of large grocery chains, the food market is getting structured. The Van Winden decided to specialize in lettuce. To reach markets in the Maritimes, Ontario and the United States, they also acquire the first modern cooling systems in Quebec as well as all the necessary equipment to maintain the cold chain. Gerry, Peter’s son, devotes more of his time to marketing.

1990 to 1996 – Pushing the boundaries

Gerry is convinced that the key to success lies in providing vegetables to his customers throughout the year. The new free trade agreement between Canada, Mexico and the United States reveals a great opportunity. Quickly, he will set up several partnerships with producers in Mexico and the southern United States.

Logo of Veg Pro InternationalVeg Pro International Logo
1998 – Creation of Vegpro

Gerry Van Winden, Anthony Fantin and four farms in the region founded Vegpro International Inc. Their goal? Be a leader in the production and marketing of fresh vegetables in Eastern Canada and the United States. Their strategy: to focus on continuous innovation and develop partnerships beyond their borders.

Just like its Farming partners, the company is built with family spirit. Several brothers and children of Gerry’s are still part of the company today.

2000 – Green Nature

To better meet the increasing demands of its clients, Vegpro founded the Corporative Farm Vert Nature. It is the first company in Canada specializing in the culture of young lettuce leaves, commonly known as mesclun. To supply the market year round, Vert Nature cultivates land in Quebec and Florida.

2001 to 2004 – First packing plants

To better control the production process, Vegpro acquires its first packing plant in Sherrington (Quebec) and in Belle Glade (Florida) in 2001. In 2003, strong growth in demand and increased production requires major investments. Two new plants, larger and more productive, are then constructed: the first one in Florida and another in Napierville (QC) a few months later.

2006 – Fire

In spring 2006, fire burns through the packing plant in Napierville. The plant is completely destroyed. Far from being discouraged, the Vegpro team pulls together and manages in less than 2 weeks to replenish all its customers through various partnerships.

Gerry and Anthony immediately undertake the construction of a new plant. In spring 2007, “Salade Etcetera!” opens in Sherrington. This brand new plant is equipped with packing lines at the cutting edge of technology.

2010 – Innovation

In 2010 and 2011, Vegpro launches its salad kits in family and individual size. Various blends of salad garnished with a clever mix of ingredients and tasty dressings. These kits, marketed under the brand name “Fresh Attitude”, quickly positioned the company among the best performing in the country in the mixed salad line of products.

Today, Vegpro is a leader in terms of innovation in the category of vegetables and ready to eat salads.

2012 – The major projects

In 2012, two major projects mobilize the company. First, the packing plant in Sherrington is expanded and its area is doubled. Then, Vegpro, which recently acquired CAMS, begins the complete renovation of its carrots and onions packing plant with the installation of equipment at the cutting edge of technology.