Between Farm and Table
Ever wonder how local restaurants are able to buy the freshest ingredients, or how farms supply their produce all over the state? Many farms, restaurants, grocery stores and other companies use produce suppliers to work between farms and stores. The only produce supplier in the Eugene, Springfield area is Emerald Fruit and Produce Co.
Since 1962, Emerald Fruit and Produce Co. has been providing farm fresh produce to the local community. They are responsible for buying fresh produce from farmers and then fulfill orders to local restaurants, schools, hospitals, caterers and more.
Emerald Fruit and Produce Co. prides themselves in the efficiency that they deliver produce.
Kyle Herbert, the son of the owner Denis Herbert, said “We do same day delivery’s here. A lot of places don’t do that, you’ve got to call the day before. Like if a restaurant calls at nine in the morning, we can have their stuff to them by noon.”
Justin Roberts is in charge of accounts and customer relations, and explained the typical process for an order. The order comes in looking similar to a grocery list, with all the produce that the company requests. The driver that is heading to that location will pick up the order sheet and go grab the produce to put it in their delivery vehicle. Once they have a full delivery truck, they will head out to supply the produce.
The process of buying and selling fresh produce is a balancing act. In order to have fresh produce, Emerald Fruit and Produce Co. has to estimate the amount of produce they will need to purchase and supply to local businesses. If they have too much of a product it may go bad; too little and they will run out.
“It’s such a fast paced thing,” Kyle said. “You’ve got to buy, pretty much, day to day. You know, you can’t buy something for a month’s worth because it will go bad on ya.”
In order to maintain fresh produce, fruits and vegetables are kept in temperatures that will keep them healthy. The produce is also checked daily and anything that has gone bad is removed. Roberts said that sanitation is a key part of storing produce and Emerald Fruit and Produce Co. has stricter standards than the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Services to insure that the food they provide is high quality.
Emerald Fruit and Produce Co. has been a family owned business since it opened in the early 1960s. It is well-established in the food service industry as a produce supplier that tries to provide the freshest ingredients for the local community. So ask your local businesses where they get their produce; if it’s Emerald Fruit and Produce Co., you’ll know that it’s fresh.