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Holiday Snackchat

Holiday Snackchat

Come, Snack readers, gather ’round and listen as these industry luminaries spin you a holiday tale about the wonderful power of fruits and veggies. As shoppers storm the shelves, searching for enchanted offerings to add extra magic to their celebrations this season, the mystical insights and contagious passion of these produce savants will keep registers lighting up like New Year’s fireworks…


Chris Miller,

Produce Director, Meat and Seafood Coordinator, MOM’s Organic Market

“December is such a great time of year for organic citrus varieties and quality. After the chaos of November and the Thanksgiving season, it is nice to keep it simple and share some awesome fruit with family and friends. If they bring the wine, I will bring the best-eating citrus around—fair trade-off, right? On the dinner table, I love playing with all the different winter squash varieties available. I’ve come to realize that the more difficult a variety of squash is to process, the greater the reward is when it comes to taste. Or, maybe that is just me justifying the effort.”


Steve Church,

Chairman, Church Brothers Farms

“I was asked what my favorite holiday produce item is and, although we grow Iceberg and Romaine lettuce, ironically, these aren’t my holiday go-tos. During the season, it is a family tradition for me to make a Granny Smith apple pie using my mother, Jean Church’s, recipe. It is by far my favorite dessert, especially paired with vanilla ice cream. The secret to this recipe is to add apple cider vinegar to the crust and to mix lots of butter into the apples, sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon. My sister, Anne Bramers, and I have apple pie baking contests, battling head-to-head using the recipe—she’s beaten me two out of three times; I think it’s because she adds in more sugar! To make it even more special, in memory of my mother, we add the letters ‘JC’ to the top of each pie. Hail to the apple growers!”


Paul Kneeland,

Vice President of Fresh Operations, Gelson’s Markets

“Root vegetables are at the core of making a good holiday season GREAT! Think of all the possibilities that can fill consumers’ plates. Roasted root veggies are comfort food for those who love fresh produce. That aroma, that flavor! You just have to love dinner time when your appetite is awakened by their sweet smell of goodness. Roasting mixed vegetables is also a personal favorite of mine—carrots, potatoes, onions, sweet potatoes, rutabaga, and more. Combine those with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and it’s the perfect complement to holiday meals and a great way to start the New Year. Think beet salad, carrot sticks, and, of course, roasted root vegetables!”


Luke Fountain,

Sales, Atlas Produce

“My favorite produce item to have during the holidays would definitely be the Medjool date. They are packed with nutrients and are perfect during the holiday season because of their versatility. Medjools can be eaten as a snack, added to recipes, or served as an hors-d’oeuvre. Basically, they are a one-stop shop! I love to eat them on the go when I’m running around doing those crucial holiday errands, or I’ll stuff them with goat cheese to add to my family’s smörgåsbord we put out as we count down the seconds to the New Year.”


Michelle Deleissegues,

Director of Marketing, GEM-Pack Berries

“Fresh berries are a foolproof go-to during the holidays. Enticing to the eye and palate, they add extra festiveness to every celebration. Blackberries are my favorite for mixing sweet and savory, and they’re easy to drop into winter salads or on top of cornbread and focaccia before baking. When you don’t have time to bake, chocolate-dipped or cream-filled strawberries are a sure-fire celebratory hit. For that New Year’s toast, I always have lots of fresh blackberries and raspberries on hand to drop into a favorite sparkling beverage. Cheers!”


Job Villanueva,

Organic Sales Manager, Giumarra Nogales

“Winter squash varieties are as delicious as they are versatile. Squash is a great side dish for parties and potlucks, or as a main course or soup for a healthy, yet filling, weeknight dinner. We will have consistent supplies of our organic, Fair Trade Certified™ Butternut and Spaghetti squash throughout the winter holiday season. It’s the perfect timeframe for retailers to promote Fair Trade—especially as consumers are celebrating the spirit of giving—as each sale of Fair Trade Certified produce gives back to farm workers in Mexico.”