Earl’s Organic hosts chef event

Earl’s Organic Produce hosted about a dozen James Beard Foundation chefs in late September for an overnight tour to experience the busiest time of the day at its San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market facility.

The goal was to help them gain a better understanding about how produce deliveries arrive, how they’re offloaded, how orders are filled and how they’re then sent out, said Susan Simitz, marketing manager.

The visit also included discussions about Earl’s three new banana ripening rooms that allow the firm to custom-ripen fruit.

Afterward, the chefs went upstairs to Earl’s gourmet demonstration kitchen, where owner Earl Herrick talked about what produce items were in season, geography and produce sourcing, and some of the flavor profiles. The chefs were then let loose with in-season ingredients to create dishes.

“It’s just a chance for them to be able to be here in the middle of the night and see the other side of where their produce comes from and to hear about it from experts,” Simitz said.

“It will change their view of things. I think it will make them more excited.”


Interfresh Inc. adds melon salesman

Interfresh Inc., Orange, Calif., has hired Stuart Smith to handle its melon program. Smith, the son of Turlock Fruit Co. owner Don Smith, will work with Maria Julian.

Smith will focus on cantaloupe, honeydews and specialty melon sales, while Julian will handle watermelons along with some other melons, said Cory Puentes, Interfresh Northern California manager.

Interfresh already had a working relationship with Turlock Fruit Co., handling exports to the Far East and U.S. sales.

“What makes this exciting for us is we represent Turlock Fruit in Los Angeles, so it’s exciting to have the opportunity to handle their fruit in the Bay Area,” he said.



Vegetable audited

Washington Vegetable Co., San Francisco, passed a third-party good manufacturing practices audit conducted by PrimusLabs in late August, said Tony Leutza, general manager and food safety officer.

“We’ve come a long way in the last nine months to a year,” Leutza said.

The wholesaler based in the San Francisco Whole Produce Market began working on passing the audit nearly a year ago.