2024 40 Under Forty Winner: James Albert Camera

Vegetable Category Manager
Four Seasons Produce Inc.
Ephrata, PA

Age: 31
Hometown: Lititz, PA
Hobbies: Sports, Music, Golf, Working out, Reading
Family/Community: Married
Motto in life: “I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.” — Abraham Lincoln

Camera began working in produce at 16 at a local grocery store as a part-time job. After pursuing a college degree in business law, but realizing it was not what he wanted in life, he returned home to his produce clerk job. He was hired for a full-time position in 2014 as assistant produce manager for Weis Markets. He moved up the ladder, eventually becoming produce manager of the top produce department in the Lancaster district and a top 25 department in the company.

In 2017, he took a position as a coverage sales representative at Four Seasons Produce. He quickly grew at the company, moving into a pricing and ads analyst position within his first year. After another year, an opportunity in procurement opened, and he spent the next five years leading growth in the organic vegetable category. In January 2024, he was promoted to vegetable category manager, where he oversees Four Seasons’ vegetable procurement team. He is a graduate of IFPA’s Emerging Leaders Program.

Q: What do you know now you wish you knew when you first started your career?

As a teenager working in the produce industry, I had no idea how expansive the industry was and how much detail it took to get from seed to consumers’ homes.

Q: What is the one thing in your business that you are most passionate about?

Making a difference. Produce not only provides food for people, but also provides health benefits to make all of us healthier and happier. We also impact agriculture throughout the U.S.; through buying and selling produce, we provide jobs to many people.

Q: What are some ways we can increase produce consumption at the point of sale?

The key to increased produce consumption is telling the story. Consumers are more keyed into knowing the “why” than ever before. They buy “brand A” because it supports a certain cause or because that brand shares its profits with said organization. Our industry needs to tell the story of our farmers, their causes (i.e. Fair Trade), and also the many benefits of our products.

Q: How has the industry changed during your tenure?

Our industry is constantly changing, and that’s the beauty of it. Being a Northeast supplier, local produce comes to mind. Specifically, to vegetables, when I began, the local season was roughly June to mid-September, if we were lucky. Now, local farmers are beginning to have products available in late March/early April and lasting into December. Looking at the entirety of the industry, there’s been change in the growth of regenerative agriculture.

Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of in your career?

IFPA’s Emerging Leaders Program. Not only the growth and networking I achieved in this program, but in an industry that never stops, to find the time to work on self-improvement and growth is something that I value.

Q: What advice would you give someone new to the produce industry?

The rewards of working in this industry are beyond expression when you realize that every day you are helping farmers, agriculture and consumers. However, with no two days ever alike, and this industry can be one of the most demanding and time-consuming jobs.

Q: What do you see as a critical issue facing the industry in the next decade and why?

Survival of farmers and suppliers, as economic pressure impacts the industry.