National Love Your Produce Manager Day was initiated in 2012 to celebrate all the hard work that Produce managers put in to bringing us the best and brightest of the world’s produce straight to your storefront. Produce managers are members of a rarely seen group within a grocery stores administrative staff. They are responsible for choosing what produce their store is going to carry, and where it is going to be obtained from. The next time you are in the produce section of your grocery store, take a moment to look around and appreciate all the choices you have, and realize that someone has to keep those orders flowing, the shelves stocked, and new selections coming to you every day.
It is because of produce managers that we get such selections as ‘Chinese Gooseberries’, better known throughout the world as ‘Kiwifruit’. Interestingly, Kiwifruit is known as that due to a massive marketing campaign done by inhabitants of New Zealand. New fruit selections such as this generally only find their way into new markets by the request of patrons, or a specialty produce manager who decides to take a chance on a new offering.
Key industry representatives such as Frieda Caplan (who was a produce distribution company owner back in 1962 when she received the inquiry from a produce manager in Salt Lake City about the “Chinese Gooseberries”) respond to the feedback of their customers and other produce managers to bring such new fruits into the marketplace.
In addition to placing orders, they also have to set up the display and how everything is going to look to customers coming into the store. Just take a look around at the beautiful palette of colors, sizes, flavors, and options presented to you every time you go to the store. Your produce manager is the one who sat down and figured out where everything was going to go, and made sure it all got there. That handwriting you see in grease-pen on the signs? Almost certainly the painstaking work of a produce manager preparing her store to be ready to bring you delicious and fresh new produce.
Speaking of fresh new produce, one of the ways you can celebrate “Love your Produce Manager Day” is by going in and asking your produce manager what’s new and exciting today. They’ll be able to lead you to the freshest fruits, their new suppliers, and maybe even suggest some ways to serve the new delights they’ve brought out to your storefront. They generally love questions about their newest selections, and are always to hear back if you don’t care for a new provider of produce they’ve started using!
So go in to your local store and bring in a little something for your produce manager, be it a card or just a thank you note for making sure you have such a wonderful selection each year. Bring in your suggestions and requests of things you’d like to see in the store, you’d be surprised how rarely they have reason to order something new! If there’s something you’ve been wanting and it’s not there, just let them know! National Love Your Produce Manager Day may only come once a year, but they’re at work the entire year round!