WEEKLY SPECIALS | SEASONAL CALENDAR | GROWER MAP

twitter24x24square facebook24x24square youtube24x24square pinterest24x24square instagram24x24square

Earl’s Organic Renews Food Safety Certification

For the third consecutive year Earl’s Organic Produce renews their Food Safety Certification under the direction of Pablo B Ruiz, Manager of Food Safety.   Pablo coordinates with the warehouse supervisors, staff, custodian and crew to ensure that all procedures are followed. Over 10 detailed logbooks need to be maintained on a daily basis, keeping track of the product and cooler temperatures, sanitation logs and a microbiological program to lab test water and ice to prevent bacterial contamination of the produce. In addition extensive training for each employee is mandatory on food handling and care, from the time it is received, stored in the coolers and then loaded onto trucks going out for delivery to our customers.

It is important for a company like Earls, dealing in produce every day, to have a food safety program in place. Over the past 3 years Earl’s has learned a lot about the small details that make a big difference on how our food is handled. Pablo is “proud to be the person handling the food safety program and to work with a fantastic group of professionals that take food safety seriously.His goal is to help customers to create systems at the retail level to increase food safety awareness and care for each fruit and vegetable that goes out to the consumer.

Earl’s Employee Gains Retail Experience

Chandley Logsdon, one of Earl’s employees, is a recent product of UCLA, with a degree in Spanish and a flair for healthful food. Upon employment, she was offered an opportunity to learn the underpinnings of the retail world before joining Earl’s team. Chandley’s blog documents her experience thus far:

Chandley at El Cerrito Natural Grocery

Chandley at El Cerrito Natural Grocery

Last spring, I asked my professor to sponsor me for an independent research project on the labor standards of contemporary, undocumented farm workers in Santa Barbara County. As I interviewed migrant avocado pickers and enrolled in a California Agriculture course at Cal a permanent seed of food-interest was planted within me that has since sprouted into a fascination I can’t control. Food blogs and documentaries, seminars, and farm research began to consume my free time. Words and places and authors like Novela Carpenter, Cesar Chavez, Alice Waters, fair trade, seasonality of foods, and Berkeley filled my vocabulary and molded my opinions. That is how I landed an internship working with imported citrus in the summer of 2012, which in turn, lead me to Earl’s Organic where I am finally in the position to see the food chain operate firsthand. My blog is not so much a timeline as it is a journal of lessons learned and anecdotes of precious moments.

“Imagine if we had a food system that actually produced wholesome food. Imagine if it produced that food in a way that restored the land. Imagine if we could eat every meal knowing these few simple things: What it is we’re eating. Where it came from. How it found its way to our table. And what it really cost… But we can change the way we make and get our food so that it becomes food again—something that feeds our bodies and our souls. Imagine it: Every meal would connect us to the joy of living and the wonder of nature.”- Michael Pollan

Thirty-five miles South of San Francisco is the town of Half Moon Bay(HMB). It rests quietly in the fog from the Pacific where coastal farms harvest some of the best organic foods. We at Earl’s have a tight partnership with New Leaf Community Market where I spent two weeks working in the produce department. After a brief tour and introduction from the Produce Director, I was sent to work the floor. It was a drink-from-the-fire hose learning curve – I had responsibilities to fulfill just like the rest of the employees. Usually, the day began by browsing the fruit display looking for scarcity. A few cases of avocados would be removed from the coolers and put on the shelf to create a full and abundant looking display. I learned about product rotation and educated customers on foods. Long time employees schooled me on their store policies, customer tendencies, seasonality, and local farms. Through these daily tasks, I was better able to understand our importance at Earl’s and how handling the product with integrity is a crucial aspect in maintaining an efficient and effective supply chain.

photo 3

New Leaf Grocery Half Moon Bay

In addition to encouraging organics, the store commits to having a relationship with small local growers by selling their fruits and vegetables and advertises the name of the farm. To me this is huge. The store takes an extra step to make a difference in supporting the community’s small farms. With my notepad and pen in hand, I jotted down all the facts, including my own personal thoughts and observations. The people at this store caught my attention, and taught me lessons too.

One of my first lessons came from Helen, a middle seventies snowbird and long- standing store customer. She was eying the persimmons one day as I stacked them. I laid the orange fruit, newest to oldest, on a strong nest of their brothers and sisters. Using one of the retail strategies I learned about juxtaposition of products, I built their sturdy mound next to the ruddy Bartlett Pears. This contrast has a funny effect on a shopper; they see the color break and their eyes tell them they must have this fruit. Helen’s reaction lived up to that of a typical customer. Purchasers of produce are impulse buyers; whatever stands out ends up in their reusable shopping bags. I noticed Helen puzzled by the persimmons; she had never seen them before. Many natural food stores have a standing modus operandi; all customers have the right to request a sample of any product displayed. Eager to facilitate the introduction, I sliced her some of the orange colored fruit and watched her walk out with a half dozen. Later that week, she returned to thank me and bought a dozen more for her daughters. Conversing with long-time and recent foodies, sharing and introducing new foods were the moments I enjoyed most. These Half Moon Bay citizens first pick is not a shiny, uniformly ripened, conventional product; they are making a conscious food selection by choosing local and organic and that is something to be admired.

photo 4

HMB New Leaf set a tough example to follow as I returned to the city to work retail in El Cerrito and Berkeley. Over the following weeks I had a new realization. I began to see that the produce department is a direct reflection of our farmland, season, and the weather. It is ever-changing and evolving; cold snaps, heat waves, deep frosts, and other environmental factors influence the produce we see every day. During the month of November, El Cerrito Natural Grocery had over 50 apple varietals on display. I was amazed that every apple was different from its neighbor, not just in size and color, but also in density, acidity, sweetness, and aroma. Days were spent sampling Cherrie-Apples, Winesaps, and Pink Ladies. With winter upon us, I am certain the store has the most beautiful spread of citrus covering the floor. I respected such seasonal variety because buying seasonally usually means lower prices, more flavorful products, and a smaller carbon footprint due to less travel. This retail store, although small, also prided itself on having nearly-impossible-to-find fruits like Cherimoyas, Guava berries and Mango Oranges. Specialization in seasonal and rare product implants a piece of local knowledge that makes customers proud to say, “Green garlic? I know just the place!”

While New  Leaf customers boasted the highest food IQ, and El Cerrito Natural Grocery the best niche products, by far the largest store I had to opportunity to learn from was in Berkeley Bowl West. This store moves product at high volume and strives to offer competitive prices for their consumers; it felt like a Wal-Mart for natural foods. One can buy Frosted Flakes and Heritage Flakes in the same aisle. One element I was quite fond of was their conscious effort to minimize waste. One of my primary duties here was identifying and sorting “culls” while rotating the product. When fruits and vegetables are rotated, the flawed produce is sifted out and put into the culls pile. For example, after bananas are picked off the tree, we as a distributor or retailers can accelerate the ripening process, by monitoring its environments temperature. Therefore, bananas are rated on a number system of “yellowness,” level one being dead green and level seven being full color with slight freckling. If the temperature is poorly adjusted, the bananas skin will turn a muted yellow color that would quickly find itself culled from the shelf. The culls are then given away to employees, food banks or composted. Consumers are not tolerant of flawed produce. Usually, culls are flavorsome, and have but the slightest of blemishes. Let’s face it; we can be fussy at times wanting a perfect diamond ring, a scratch-free car, and of course a perfectly yellowed level six banana. If we did not turn our nose up at flecked fruits and vegetables we could save a lot more time, money, and most of all, food. An employee told me “we don’t like to waste. Sometimes the food will have little bruising or scarring, but the taste is not forfeited,” so the imperfect produce gets bagged and sold at a discounted rate. This shelf is loved by those who want produce to make juices, smoothies, salsa, or baked goods.

As I look back at the arc of my agriculture experience the past year, from that fateful research project, to the citrus internship, to the conclusion of my retail experience, and now my introduction into Earl’s team I have been enlightened. Since adopting a mostly plant-based diet, I’ve become mindful of ingredients, where they came from, and how they got to my plate. I am not only more knowledgeable of our country’s food chain, but I’m now a facilitating member of the process with Earl’s. Working with an organic company who promotes sustainable agriculture and food trade and working with growers and customers who strive for the same goals is gratifying. The amount of energy, money and hard work needed to fill our grocery stores is something to be appreciated.  Awareness of the process makes for a wiser consumer. The names I read in books have become my role models and I feel that I have the ability to carry out their philosophy, not just by living my life that way, but making it possible for others to live that way too through Earl’s Organic. Thank you Earl, participating retailers and wonderful staff for your patience and making this experience possible.

Covilli – Organic and Environmental Stewards

We are promoting sustainable methods that translate into a more just food system. How? by offering good food to nourish our bodies, by minimizing the impact farming leaves behind in our lands and water, and by giving value to the men and women that work every aspect: from soil preparation to harvesting with expert and efficient hands, to get us the vegetables that we love and need.

This is what being organic and Fair Trade Certified means to everyone at Covilli.

We only sell what we grow- there are no outside growers or outsourcing- which allows us full control from seedling to distribution. Our operation is approx. 25% greenhouses, in ground not hydroponic, and 75% open field.

Flower

As part of our commitment towards organic purity, we enforce an intensive Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM) which includes:

  • Insect Monitoring Stations: they give us a sense of population and types of insects in the area as part of our preventative program that among many things it covers.
  • Crop Rotation: This is a robust program that changes every year.
  • Beneficial Insects: Released inside the greenhouses
  • Cover Crop rotation with a small percentage of intercrop.
  • We are currently working on incorporating local mycorrhiza
  • We build our own Shade and Greenhouses based on Israeli engineering.
  • We work with a local honey producer brings hives into our farm for pollination, and later sells the honey produced locally.

Our farm’s General Manager actively participates in the Local Board of Vegetable Health and in the Vegetable and Fruit Grower Association in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico; focused on pest and disease mitigation as well as procuring state and federal funding.

As Mexican farmers we must comply with more and stricter regulations because our products cross the international border into the United States, where U.S. Customs, FDA and USDA have agricultural, food safety and pest concerns.

At Covilli, we have a strong environmental commitment: we recycle all plastic such as greenhouse covers and drip irrigation lines as well as mulching and solarisation. We also incorporate clean cardboard in our compost, which is produced using all of our farm trimmings and is fully organic. All the water utilized on our farm comes from a well within the property and our entire operation uses drip irrigation for water conservation purposes.

 Our Food Safety emphasis

Food Safety is critical to our operation. We are certified in Global Food Safety (GFS), Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) making it one of the most comprehensive and complex certifications. We have taken our commitment further than most, by having the Organic and GFS (Global Food Safety) Certifications for our warehouse at Covilli’s H.Q. in Nogales, AZ., as well, which makes us organic all the way through.

About 85% of the produce that is consumed in the US is hand-picked in other countries.  Buying products labeled as Fair Trade is an easy way to support the hard-working people who grow the products that you love. At only few extra cents per pound-the Fair Trade Premium-will allow for democratically chosen projects to become a reality in Covilli’s farm worker communities.

Each of us at Covilli Brand Organics has as a set objective, contributing towards a great product that is good and meaningful, that protects our earth, our workers and their families, your children and our children; in this we take great pride. We are Growing Quality by Tradition. Truly Organic, Truly Fair.

Covilli Fair Trade Banner with only logos

Who we are.

company-photo

Our Mission

Earl’s Organic Produce promotes organic agriculture and a sustainable food trade while cultivating enduring partnerships with growers and customers.  We operate on the principles of innovation, education, and superior customer service to distribute premium certified organic fruits and vegetables to our diverse customer base.

spacer

Our vision

Earl’s Organic Produce aspires to connect those who produce and consume organic food by creating mutually beneficial, meaningful, and committed relationships across the food chain. We seek to educate, excite, and evoke passion for the organic culture and continually evolve our business practices to both promote and meet the needs of the ever expanding organic industry. Furthermore, we are committed to discovering and implementing innovative business solutions in order to improve the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of our operations.

spacer

Our values

  • Integrity: Our relationships are built on authentic mutual respect and our decisions are fueled by genuine sincerity.
  • Passion: We are driven by an intense enthusiasm for procuring and distributing premium certified organic produce.
  • Anticipation: We excel in our ability to communicate effectively with growers and predict the needs of consumers.
  • Service: We exceed expectations with a steadfast attention to detail and an unparalleled level of customer satisfaction.
  • Teamwork: We work toward a common cause by sharing our diverse perspectives internally and collaborating externally. Our success in solving problems and accomplishing goals is based on cooperation and interdependence.

spacer

About us

  • We are an A to Z distributor of organic fruits and vegetables, carrying 475+ line items at any given time within our 30,000 square foot warehouse
  • We are the only CCOF certified organic handler on the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market www.sfproduce.org
  • We are approved by the USDA/CDFA food safety audit program for Good Handling Practices.
  • Our fleet of trucks reaches from the California Central Coast to the California-Oregon border East to the Sierra Foothills.
  • As exclusive marketing agents for several California growers, our products are shipped across North America and Canada.
  • We have a staff of over 100 employees.
  • Management experience totaling over 150 years in the organic industry.

spacer

History

earl-1977-san-franciscoOUR ROOTS

As Earl says, “It starts with the soil. If you take the time to care for it, work it, and turn it, the soil will work for you for a long time – not just this season.” Earl’s Organic Produce wasn’t built from a meticulous business plan or a grand vision. An authentic passion for food and pure, fertile soil together fostered what would become the leading regional distributor of organic produce.

In 1975, you could find our founder, Earl Herrick, at Fulton and 10th Street entrance to Golden Gate Park selling fruits and vegetables from a small converted beverage truck. Back then, produce was 5 pounds for a dollar and folks would flock from all over for his famous ugly orange – hideous on the outside, but heaven on the inside. At the intersection of several culturally diverse neighborhoods, Earl got a hands-on understanding of customer service. He recalls offering samples to a variety of customers, from tourists to residents, insisting that in such an engaging atmosphere, “if you weren’t an extrovert, you were done.” This experience served as the foundation of Earl’s produce education, which included a four-barrel coin changer as his cashier and the mild, overcast weather as his refrigerator.

Earl’s journey into fresh produce sales eventually brought him to a Marin-base natural market called Living Foods. There, he spent several years as a produce buyer learning the dynamic, daily operations of retail business and establishing relationships with organic growers who allowed him to buy directly from their farms.

With a dash of luck and chance timing, Earl took an opportunity to open a single stall on the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market in 1988. Combining 13 years of retail experience, strong relationships with organic growers, and a passion for good simple food, Earl’s Organic Produce was born.

BLOOMING

As Earl found more growers committed to producing delicious sustainable crops and consumer demand steadily increased for organic produce, Earl’s Organic Produce grew as well. One part-time employee became several full-time employees and the he became “we”. In 1991 we outgrew the first stall and moved to a larger warehouse within the Wholesale Produce Market. By 1996 the space had doubled and three years later, we incorporated.

In 2006, we moved to a warehouse in the newer annex across the street from the original market. Eight years later we outgrew that space and moved next door into a larger 30,000 square foot facility. To maintain freshness and optimal flavor, we have four climate-specific coolers – cold and wet for broccoli and greens, temperate for summer vegetables and citrus, and extra cold for apples and berries – plus ample floor space for tropical fruits and tomatoes. Each evening our warehouse buzzes as the night crew receives new product fresh from the fields, palletizes outgoing shipments, and prepares our trucks for deliveries.

Moving into our new warehouse has enabled us to fulfill a long time goal of having our own banana ripening rooms. Earl’s Organic is the only organic wholesaler in San Francisco to have our own banana ripening rooms, allowing us to have full control of our banana program from start to finish, fulfilling the color needs of our customers. We source Organic Fair Trade bananas from Coliman in Mexico and truck them directly to our warehouse.

RIPENING

Today, Earl is still at the helm, infusing over 100 employees with his contagious enthusiasm and focus every day. Our staff comes from all branches of the organic industry and includes former farmers, retailers, and brokers. These diverse backgrounds help us navigate the ever-evolving organic produce industry, as well as understanding the unique needs of our growers and our customers.

We honor the organic farmers whose integrity, passion, and hard work continue to prove that organic agriculture is not a trend, but an economically viable and sustainable alternative to conventional agriculture. Likewise, we honor and value our customers – from restaurants to retailers – for their commitment to bring healthy and delicious organic fruits and vegetables to tables everywhere.

Earl maintains that this is not just his venture. Earl’s Organic Produce is an endeavor between the employees, the growers, and the customers to bring organic food to the people.

spacer

Our Commitment to Sustainability

At Earl’s Organic Produce, we extend our commitment to sustainability beyond our organic products by practicing the three Rs – reduce, reuse, and recycle – in all aspects of our business operations. Below are several examples of ways we have lessened our ecological footprint:

  • Earl’s Organic is a Certified San Francisco Green Business
  • Waste Management – we compost and recycle in both the office and warehouse to significantly decrease landfill-bound refuse. Our diversion rate is 96%!
  • Prevent Food Waste- Donate over 250,000 lbs of produce yearly to organizations around the Bay Area including the San Francisco Food Bank and the San Francisco Produce Market Food Recovery program.
  • Pallet Reuse – we return pallets for reuse to decrease the amount of hardwood lumber harvested for pallet production.
  • Energy Efficiency – Earl’s Organic Produce is proud to be an inaugural member of San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s (SPUC) Clean Power SF “Super Green” Program. Electing into the “Super Green” option means that our 30,000 sq. ft. warehouse is now powered by 100% certified renewable energy. With the Clean Power SF Program, Earl’s Organic Produce can now focus on reaching our goals of becoming a zero waste and carbon neutral facility. Watch the Super Green video here http://bit.ly/earlscleanpowervideo
  • Trucks- all of our trucks use biofuel
  • Warehouse
    • Automated high speed cooler doors saves money by opening and closing faster than traditional doors helping to keep temperatures stable. Less moving parts, lighter materials and self re-tracking doors make for a virtually maintenance free door system.
    • Energy saving high frequency smart chargers for all forklifts and pallet jacks. The technology charges the battery at the highest rate of power for the shortest time saving hours of charging time.
    • LED lighting with motion sensors through-out the warehouse.
  • Office Operations- we use 30% post-consumer content, chlorine free paper for all office printing and purchase planet-friendly office products whenever available
  • Green Cleaning – we use biodegradable, non-toxic cleaning products throughout our office and warehouse
  • Organic Fabrics – all company garments are made from organic cotton and bamboo cotton
  • Education – we are a source of information to our growers, customers, and the community regarding organic produce and sustainable agriculture
  • Participation – we are proud members of the San Francisco Produce Market Green Team

http://bit.ly/transportationmanagerEnroll in the Super Green Program to help the City of San Francisco reach its goal to be 100% renewable powered by 2025.

Earl’s Organic Produce is proud to be an inaugural member of San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s (SPUC) Clean Power SF “Super Green” Program. Electing into the “Super Green” option means that our 30,000 sq. ft. warehouse is now powered by 100% certified renewable energy. We have long awaited the opportunity to increase Earl’s renewable energy use. With the initiation of the Clean Power SF Program, Earl’s Organic Produce can now focus on reaching our goals of becoming a zero waste and carbon neutral facility.

spacer

Industry Involvement

As we understand the importance of a vibrant organic trade community, we have formed partnerships with and are very proud sponsors of the following organizations:

spacer

In addition, we actively support each of the following organizations/enterprises:

spacer

Staff

spacer

Employment- We Are Hiring!

We are currently hiring qualified Delivery Drivers. Click here for the listing.

We are currently hiring for Warehouse Support.  Click here for the listing.

We are currently hiring for Transportation Supervisor. Click here for the listing.

We are currently hiring for Transportation Manager. Click here for the listing.

We are currently hiring for Administrative Assistant. Click here for the listing.

Earl’s Organic Produce provides a highly competitive compensation package, including medical, dental, vision, LTD and voluntary life, plus a company-sponsored retirement program. Earl’s Organic Produce is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We work to embrace diversity in all its forms and strive to be an inclusive community that fosters an open, enlightened and productive environment. Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance ordinance, we will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.

We’re always happy to hear from those with experience and talent in the following fields: purchasing, sales, accounting, office management, warehousing, and trucking.

Interested candidates are encouraged to submit an Earl’s Organic job application, cover letter, resume, and three references via email to HR@earlsorganic.com or come directly to

Earls Organic Produce
2101 Jerrold Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94124

Food Safety Audit Certificate

Search
Follow us ...

twitter24x24square facebook24x24square youtube24x24square pinterest24x24square instagram24x24square