Every grocery store has its own way of operating and each buyer has their own buying method. Woodlands has an advantage because we have been immersed in the produce industry all my life and we have been managing the same department for one company for almost 30 years. Cultivating long-standing relationships with farmers and distributors, understanding the weight of the difference between making a purchase based on price and a purchase based on quality and a complex passion for the art of offering the best produce available to our customers is a luxury to most companies but it is the standard at Woodlands.
While we buy as much produce from local farmers as possible, Woodlands Market does not believe in making choices for its customers; we prefer to provide choices. So at times, you will find produced sourced from all over the world. we also “spot buy” which means I go to the selling market or to the farm and buy the best produce I can find “on the spot” while most buyers find it more efficient to pre-order; seeing the palette of produce for the first time once it arrives at their loading docks—after it’s been paid for. Using the spot buy approach, I am able to purchase the very best produce available regardless of price. This also allows me to maintain uncomplicated business relationships with growers and distributors.
One of my favorite growers is Goldbud Farms in Placerville (nectarines, peaches and apples) because we think they give us the best-tasting, most consistent fruit available—delicious stone fruit we look forward to each season! Also, we buy almost all of Allstar Organics tomatoes in Marin. The farm is run by a husband-wife team who are super people! we work with a lot of amazing growers—often times just miles from Woodlands’ front door!
What we love about produce is just when we start to get bored with the offerings of one season, there’s another one around the corner that presents itself with all kinds of great flavors and possibilities!
Gustavo Mendez – Produce Manager and Buyer, Kentfield
Brandon Maruca – Produce Manager, San Francisco
German Martinez – Produce Manager, Tiburon