RealEats + Geneva, NY: A Rich Past, a Glowing Future Together

RealEats + Geneva, NY: A Rich Past, a Glowing Future Together

Let us tell you about a love story between RealEats and a little town in Upstate New York. This love story started with a community of dedicated farmers who first hoed their rows in the Finger Lakes, settling in and around Geneva.

Getting real food from the farm to the urban table has always been a labor of love.

A love for sharing food on a larger scale is what unites Geneva’s agricultural past and present. Recognizing the need for food preservation, Empire State Can Company was founded in the 1890s to support the city’s food industry. This included companies such as Geneva Preserving Company, which canned produce from area farms and distributed products across the U.S.

Businesses like the Geneva Preserving Company were trailblazers in the movement to modernize food preservation in the late 1800s. (Photo from the Geneva Historical Society)

The Geneva Preserving Company was formed in 1889. Nearby, in the building now occupied by RealEats, the Empire State Can Company began in the 1890s to produce tin cans for food preservation. In 1901, Empire State Can became part of the American Can Company. American Can was the largest can company in the U.S. and they – like us – chose Geneva as their home.

John Marks, Curator of Collections & Exhibits at the Geneva Historical Society, said it made sense that American Can would locate in Geneva, given the number of preserving companies in the area. He said Geneva served as a focal point for the region’s food preservation industry.

The Finger Lakes region produced a lot of fruit and, as canning and preservation improved, farmers began growing more foods like cabbage, peas, sweet corn and carrots.

Making it possible for farmers to share the fruits of their labor with people across the country is at the heart of our story.

Geneva was also strong in the metalworking industry, home to many foundries and machine shops that produced stoves, boilers, cutlery, and metal type pieces for typewriters, amongst other things. The introduction of American Can to Geneva was a spark to the growing economic flame.

Vertical mills at the historic American Can Factory in Geneva, NY. RealEats now occupies this space. (Photo from the Geneva Historical Society)

“There’s a very rich history here of metalworking,” said Marks. “The area where American Can was located started developing around 1892 when the Lehigh Valley Railroad station was built.”

This community, Geneva’s Torrey Park neighborhood, became one of the city’s most thriving industrial areas. Yet, after 80 years together, American Can, once important to the city and neighborhood, closed in 1989.

Five years later, the building became the Geneva Enterprise Development Center, which is now home to the RealEats kitchen and other businesses who contribute to the city’s economic diversity and vitality. The community has welcomed RealEats with open arms and has generously supported our goals of making Real food flavorful, healthy and convenient.

RealEats is in love with Geneva’s rich food history.

Sharing real food has come a long way since the days of canned fruits and vegetables. As the first company to deliver fully-prepared, vacuum-sealed meals that are fresh, healthy and delicious, RealEats is merging convenience and health.

RealEats now shares food on a large scale using FDA-approved BPA-free meal pouches. By vacuum sealing the pouches, the food retains flavor and freshness while helping to reduce both food and packaging waste.

Our contribution to the food industry aligns with the principles the American Can Company stood for – sourcing food directly from local farmers and delivering our meals into the hands (and stomachs!) of people across the country.  

We love providing real food from the Finger Lakes region and are passionate about our contribution to Geneva’s rich heritage and bright future.

RealEats is a perfect fit in a city widely recognized for its history and leadership in food production.

Are you in love with real, healthy food, too? RealEats delivers right to your doorstep. Learn more about us.

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