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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 90 employees.
  • Management experience totaling over 150 years in the organic industry.

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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 all ninety 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.

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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:

  • Waste Management – we compost and recycle in both the office and warehouse to significantly decrease landfill-bound refuse
  • Pallet Reuse – we return pallets for reuse to decrease the amount of hardwood lumber harvested for pallet production
  • Energy Efficiency – we participate in San Francisco Community Power’s Demand Response Program
  • Office Operations: We use 100% 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
  • 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

Enroll 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. Kat Vining, Earl’s Organic Produce’s Director of Human Resources & Sustainability, has 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.

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Industry Involvement

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

 

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

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Staff

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Employment

We’re always happy to hear from those with experience and talent in the following fields: purchasing, sales, accounting, office management, warehousing, and trucking. Please contact us with your resume and employment interest at HR@earlsorganic.com.

Are you looking for a produce job?

We are currently hiring qualified delivery drivers. Click here for the listing.

We are currently hiring qualified product selectors. Click here for the listing.