Questions For Dean

What’s your favorite season for produce?
July. All the greens come in hot and heavy; it’s
real bounty time.

What’s your first childhood food memory?
I grew up in St. Paul, and I remember the
first time we hit the farmers’ market for
strawberries and corn on our way up North to
go camping. Back then, farmers’ markets were
the only places you could go to get local.

What’s your favorite vegetable to cook
with?

Collards. They’re so awesome sauteed
with some sesame oil and pine nuts.

If you could only eat one fruit for the rest
of your life what would it be?

Watermelon.
It’s just the juice, so good, so fresh. I think I’ve
passed that love on to my kids. Honestly, they
probably eat one a day.

What food trends have you seen over the
years here?

Kale was a real thing. It just blew
up, and it’s still big. Now everyone wants
rapini. It doesn’t ship well, so the only time
we see it is when it’s in season locally. We get
asked about that a lot.

What other local foods do people ask
about if they don’t see it on the shelves?

Blueberries and corn are the big ones. Apples,
too. The way apples grow, their yields are
cyclical; you’ll have a big crop one year, then
a growth year the next and so on. So if it’s a
growth year and we’re out of local apples by
the end of October, people go crazy.

What’s been a part of your job that no
one knows about?

People really don’t know
how much work goes into coordinating the
local growing season. I’m working with 25
different local growers to wrangle all these
different foods, and you really have to do a
lot of juggling, a lot of last-minute balancing.
But it’s worth it because we’re providing that
structure and stability to support organic
farming locally.

What will you miss most when you leave
Produce?

The physical work. Every day I come
down and work on the floor it feels like my first
day on the job. There’s always something new;
the color, the freshness, that’s what I’ll miss.