A symbol of strength and courage that offers protection and loyalty. James Bassetti, Sr., affectionately known as “The Bear,” earned such a reputation with a successful produce business due to his fierce commitment to going to any length to supply the best produce possible for his customers. In 1984, he asked his son, Jimmy Bassetti, to journey from their home in New Jersey to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas to source produce to make up for a shortage. Jimmy was so pleased with the quality of the crops he found there that he and his wife Diane made Texas their home.
After two years sourcing from various growers, he became such a large customer that he decided to grow his own crops. From there, J&D Produce and the “Little Bear” brand was born, built upon the legacy that the Bassetti family created.
Today, J&D Produce, now known as Little Bear Produce, continues to sell the consistently superior quality of produce that Jimmy Bassetti set out to find, now with 7,000 acres of farms across 3 countries and 4 states.
Family is the fabric of Little Bear—quite literally. It is not unusual to see a team member sporting a t-shirt or cap with an embroidered Little Bear logo that they had made with money out of their own pocket. The pride that each and every employee takes in the company starts from the ground up; from the way we grow our food to the way we value one another.
Much of this pride comes from Jimmy Bassetti’s love of fostering community around the table. For years he’s encouraged employees to gather around the lunch table each day to enjoy nourishing food and each other’s company.
Luis Escamilla is a production manager, his is responsible for coordinating all of our daily packing efforts. Luis has been with the company for 24 years.
Erica has been with Little Bear Produce for 22 years. Erica is responsible for international and grower accounting.
Tony Brunnemann is Farm Manager for the Little Bear Farm which is located adjacent to our packing shed. Tony grows over 40 different commodities on his farm. He has been with the company for 26 years.
Rudy Rodriguez has been with Little Bear Produce for 29 years! Rudy is a shipping foreman and is responsible for ensuring that we build and load our customers shipments quickly and efficiently while maintaining strict quality standards.