Fresh local foods are now in season in Alberta and we are so excited here at Community Natural Foods. This is the time when food is fresh, tastes its best and is at the lowest price of the year. So when you are in store buying your crisp apples and gorgeous greens why not say hi to one of our Fresh Managers? This week we meet Paul who manages the café and all things fresh at our Crowfoot location. He has a darling Irish accent and a passion for agriculture and produce. Let’s find out more about Paul.
Our fresh managers have a substantial responsibility, not only do they look after our cafés, they also look after the grab and go items and the fresh produce that comes in daily. When asked what he enjoys about being the fresh manager he replied, “Most definitely seeing all the seasonal fruit and veg that has been picked from the fields, ending up on our shelves ready for the customer to enjoy. I also really enjoy interacting with our local farmers and suppliers, finding out what’s good to order this week.” Although he has lots to do, Paul is excited to be providing such quality produce for our customers.
Paul has worked for Community Natural foods for over 13 years immigrating to Canada after marrying his wonderful wife Marie in 2003. He studied agriculture in Ireland and the first job he applied for in Calgary was with Community Natural Foods. Originally he applied for the job of produce manager but ended up working in the grocery department for 10 years before eventually becoming the produce manager 3 years ago. It was a long road to becoming the produce manager but the last three years have been fulfilling.
Paul does have a couple of pet peeves regarding the produce we carry. People in Calgary have lost touch with seasons and don’t understand what we are able to provide during the winter and spring months. They are expecting to see certain foods all year but it just isn’t possible living in a northern climate. In addition some people mishandle the fruits and vegetables causing bruising and reducing the appeal for the next shopper. Educating customers about local produce is an ongoing process.
When it comes to what fruit or vegetable he enjoys eating the most Paul looks back to his roots. “Being from Northern Ireland I would have to say the savoy cabbage is my favorite because growing up we ate a lot of Colcannon a traditional Irish dish made from potatoes, savoy cabbage and onions.” See below for a recipe if you want to get a sense of what Paul is referring to.
When asked about his favorite local farm Paul looks to Man’s Organics. “The Mans Family from Southern Alberta produce beautiful tomatoes and cucumbers and the sexiest peppers you ever did see. I got the opportunity to visit their farm a few years ago and got to see firsthand their greenhouse setup and growing techniques even aquaponics.” Supporting local farming is a priority for Community Natural foods.
There is no doubt that CNF staff are passionate and excited about what they do. Be sure to check out what is local and in season at our closest location today.
Click here for a recipe for Colcannon
Click here for a link to Mans Organics