10/27/21 (Updated 2/19/22)
Ah, yes, yet another Italian food company finds NJ the place to settle down in N. America. This news would have delighted my great grandmother. Standing in her basement kitchen, upon hearing it, she would exclaim, “che meraviglia!”, “how wonderful!”.
Rovagnati is an Italian meat processing company based in Biassono, Italy, but it has chosen Vineland for its headquarters in America. And that was a good choice, because Vineland has a rich history of attracting Italians to it’s verdant fields and fertile soil.
Vineland is named for its grape-friendly soil. Welch’s Grape Juice was started there in an effort to produce a non-alcoholic wine, as the town was a “dry” town with temperance as a founding principle. Italian grape growers and vintners were brought in to help establish the industry. On top of those individuals, more Italians were lured in by the plentiful jobs in agriculture as seasonal workers. And they were many. Vineland and nearby Hammonton are now the most Italian towns in New Jersey as a result.
So, as you can see, it really does make sense that an Italian food purveyor would put roots down in Vineland. And what about that company? Well, they want to have a presence here to make sales to the U.S. easier. To do that, they have built a 64,000sq-ft facility on the former site of Vineland Chemical, at 2290 West Oak Rd. They have already made plans to increase the size of the facility to 500,000sq-ft. Numbers of employees needed vary, but seem to be around 50 when phases of growth are done.
I’m glad to know that even today, the Italian blood running through this state is being refreshed. People that claim Italian heritage make up about 6% of the nation, but 18% of New Jersey. That gives us a wealth of great food and culture, wealth that is increased by the arrival of Rovagnati. Grandma would be very happy, indeed. Che meraviglia!
Update(2/19/22): The Rovagnati facility is open and has 18 employees with plans to hire 32 more by the end of 2022. At 45,000 square-feet, it is in the first phase of development. The next phase is an increase to 70,000 square-feet.