When Brittany Mancini first started working for a small, independent grocery store in Texas, she had no idea she’d be embarking on a path that would spark a passion and define her career. “The grocery store had a produce department that was entirely organic,” she reminisces. “Which was kind of unheard of. That was really appealing to me.” When there was a sudden opening for Produce Buyer, she thought “Why not?” and stepped in. Brittany learned the industry from the ground up, gaining the skills to be the perfect candidate for Green Chef Produce Buyer upon moving to Colorado.
We had a chat with Brittany to learn all about what goes into sourcing the produce delivered to your door each week, the challenges she faces, and her love of finding great produce while furthering a good cause:
Tell me a little bit about your role as a produce buyer for Green Chef.
I’m in charge of procuring all of the organic produce that goes into our meal kits. I spend most of my time seeking out sources and forecasting orders to make sure we meet our demand for menus each week. I also work on seasonality with the chefs: developing an ever-evolving calendar of the prime season for different goods to be used in our recipes. And I look for ways we can develop better relationships with our suppliers and our growers.
What do you look for when you’re sourcing organic produce?
We love to work with suppliers and growers that support charities and have a good story. [For example,] we work with a company called Lancaster Farm Fresh. They are a co-op that developed a CSA program and they now have the ability to service restaurants and businesses on a larger scale. They work with a lot of Amish farmers, and they bring those individuals together to help supply our company’s ever-growing needs.
We also look for ways of being efficient, like spending time with our suppliers and growers to get a good understanding of what’s in season and the prime, freshest picks that we can get. We never want to rotate our produce. It’s always fresh as it can possibly get, which is awesome. That’s not something you always come across in a grocery store-type setting. That’s a cool part of our process.
There are a lot of times we’ll have to pull a single item from four different growers, but I’m so happy to do that. We’re providing business for those growers and helping them keep doing what they love to do. It’s a win-win in that regard, for sure.
Have you noticed a pretty big change in the availability of organic produce?
Yes, definitely. I’ve been working as a buyer for a little over three years now, and even within that time span I’ve noticed things that are coming into the market that were not usually accessible when I first began my career. It’s cool to see the changes, and it’s evolving. People are really getting on board. They recognize and appreciate the value of organic produce. It’s an entirely different world from conventional, and I love that. I love the variety. I love that it’s true to form and the natural aspect of it.
Do you work closely with the chefs?
Yes. I am definitely their point-of-contact. We purchase produce in ways that’s not typically sold. The chefs do a lot of things by weight. So we work with one another regarding weights of different items, all the different varieties, and how they’re going to be prepared and used within the recipe. It’s a very detail-oriented process. We have to be very precise and make sure the customer is going to get exactly what they need to create the perfect Green Chef recipe.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I aspire to grow my own fruits and veggies one day, so I really look up to these growers and what they do and dedicate their lives to. And I love what our company stands for. The fact that we’re really just trying to spread goodness through wholesome, organic meals. That’s huge for me. We value the story behind the food that we’re sourcing, and I think that’s really awesome. I’m proud to be part of the Green Chef team.
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