About The Garden
Our story is as rich as the produce we deliver. We are family owned and operated and have always placed a premium on servicing the customer.
In the late 1950’s, after a run of bad luck in the cabbage business, Leonard Severt began to haul tomatoes from south Florida to Jacksonville, FL to sell at his newly opened Farmer’s Exchange. Leonard operated as Severt and Sons Produce while collecting rent from other vendors at the Farmer’s Exchange.
In 1976, Dianne Severt Wasson, the eldest of Leonard’s nine children, began calling on restaurants in the St. Augustine, FL area for their produce needs. Soon, there was enough business to open a facility in St. Augustine. This newly created business became known as The Garden Wholesale, Inc., (The Garden).
It is at The Garden that Matt and Jon Wasson, Dianne’s sons, began their produce career at the ripe young ages of four and two respectively. From tomato fights and being just plain aggravating to re-packing tomatoes, and eventually, receiving, warehousing and delivering produce to customers, Matt and Jon began their produce careers at the best possible point, working hard at ground level, time well spent in the grand scheme of things.
After graduating from high school Matt went on to earn a B.S. degree at the University of Florida. Jon graduated from high school and went to work immediately for Severt and Sons Produce in Jacksonville, then owned and operated by Leonard’s sons, Mike and Danny Severt.
By 1995 Jon was managing Severt’s Jacksonville location. The Severt brothers, having moved on to bigger and better things, gave Jon the opportunity to buy the Jacksonville operation, which he did in 1996, and changed the name to Jon’s Tomatoes. In 1999, Matt returned to The Garden as Operations Manager at the request his mother, Dianne. After making many improvements and watching the business grow, Matt bought The Garden in 2001.
Both Matt and Jon have been blessed with success in their businesses. In August, 2006, the Wasson brothers were approached by the Pitman family with an offer to purchase the Pitman Produce companies in Jacksonville. After much thought and research, Matt and Jon merged The Garden with Jon’s Tomatoes and, as The Garden Wholesale, Inc., bought the Pitman companies on September 19, 2006.
The Wasson brothers are extremely excited about the endless possibilities for the future. Hard work, quality product, excellent service, honesty and integrity, the Lord’s blessing of life, youth, determination and ability, and more hard work…these are what made Matt and Jon Wasson; these are what made The Garden Wholesale, Inc. what and who they are today; and these are what will make them what and who they will be tomorrow.