Tag Archives: Fresh Produce

June Produce

Summer Is Here!

It has been a long time coming, but summer is finally here. Those brutal, blistering, cold months of winter are a distant memory. It is now the time of the year when we can enjoy all those fresh, new crop fruits and vegetables. They are certain to spoil us as are warm temperatures and extended daylight hours.

Herbs and Vegetables of June

Among the first crops to look for in our stores are our very own, Michigan-grown herbs. Our herbs are exclusively grown for Nino’s right in our own backyard, in Imlay City. Helena’s Herb Company has been growing herbs for Nino’s for over 25 years. The quality and freshness is second to none. So if you are looking for rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, chives, or marjoram, to name a few, now is the time to start enjoying Michigan-grown herbs.

Another popular choice is fresh-picked, bi-color corn. As you may have noticed, all of our stores have piles of fresh corn as you enter them. Although Michigan corn will not be ready for another month or so, the Florida and Georgia corn are in their peak seasons. They are sweet as sugar and a perfect side for any grilling menu.

A little fruity

As cherries head into their peak season, June is when they will be the sweetest. Bing variety cherries are what I prefer to have when they’re available. Year after year, the Bing variety cherry seems to be the most consistent and flavorful out of all the many varieties of cherries. Also, be on the lookout for Washington cherries, as we transition from California to Washington. Washington cherries tend to be a stronger fruit, due to growing in a cooler climate than the California variety. Then there are Michigan cherries, which are primarily used for processing. However, when they are available for simple eating, they are excellent. We were pretty much wiped out of last year’s crop due to extreme weather conditions, but hopefully, Mother Nature will be kinder to us all this year. Michigan cherries, if available, will be in towards the very end of June.

Another popular fruit to hit our market in June are the famous California grapes. Whether it be green or red grapes you desire, early June is just the beginning of a season of sweet, tasty grapes that will bring us deep into the fall season. Both green and red grapes will continue to get even sweeter as the summer months continue.

Along with strawberries, blueberries and raspberries are now joining the fun and pulling up a seat at the Berry table. You will notice that each of our stores has large displays of full-pint blueberries and raspberries, with the hope that you take advantage of their excellent pricing. Both blueberries and raspberries are more than half the price cheaper than they typically are in our winter months. Now is the time to stock up!

Around the World

As we celebrate our spring/summer months, parts of the world are at the end of their fall/winter seasons. Why is this important? This is important because if you simply enjoy apples or pears, the new crop from countries like New Zealand, Argentina, or Chile is just beginning. Please look for our country of origin signs on our displays or ask one of our managers to make sure you are enjoying the freshest fruit the WORLD has to offer.

Senior Produce Buyer: Hand-Selecting the Freshest Fruits and Vegetables

For those of you who don’t know who I am, I’d like to take a few minutes to explain how I’ve come to be the Senior Produce Buyer for Nino Salvaggio’s. I have been around our stores since I was a little kid, chasing after my Dad, Mike Santoro, who has been with Nino Salvaggio’s since 1979 and is now one of the managing partners at our Saint Clair Shores location.

Long Experience: I started working at the age of 14–by working I mean that was when I was first able to collect a paycheck for my efforts. Prior to that, I was working for baseball card money and maybe a few extra bucks to go see a movie.

Although I’ve worked in all departments of our stores, produce has always been my passion. From early morning setups to late-night merchandising changes, produce is in my blood. It’s hard to believe at times, but I have been around the produce business for over 20 years.

My experience has led me to become Senior Buyer, which means I’m the one responsible for all those fresh fruits and vegetables you see when you walk through our doors at Nino’s.

Hand-Selected Produce: The most common question I hear is, “How does Nino’s always have the freshest fruits and vegetables?” My team and I hand-select, taste, and negotiate our produce for the best prices. That’s what we do!

Each morning, I’m at the Detroit Produce Terminal at about 4:00 AM; I personally select all the produce as it is unloaded off the trucks. This ensures that we are bringing the freshest produce back to Nino’s. Another advantage to going to the terminal every day is that we are able to keep our inventories light, which also keeps our produce fresher.

The Almighty Knife: A produce buyer’s most important tools are his smart phone, his marker, and his knife. You may not realize it, but there isn’t a single piece of fruit in our stores that has not been tasted. Some days, for example, I might cut up to four or five different loads of cantaloupes to decide which is the sweetest for our stores. Now there are definitely peak and off-peak seasons for all fruits, so my job can be difficult at times. However, you can be sure that if it’s in our stores, it’s sweet enough to eat.

Stocking the Shelves: Once all the produce has been selected and the prices negotiated, our Nino’s semi-trucks are loaded up and begin their voyage back to our stores, where our staff is eager to unload them and begin stocking our shelves. This process repeats itself daily.

So the next time someone mentions Nino Salvaggio’s and its fresh produce, you can explain how it all happens!