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Say Hello To Mario Grazia, Heinen’s Produce Buyer

How did you get started in the produce business?
When I was 15, my dad, Rico, was the director of produce for Heinen’s. He always felt that being a close family like we are, to work for a family owned company like Heinen’s would instill good work ethic and values. I got a job in produce at 15. I learned everything from him. He still yells at me.

Do you cook?
My wife likes to cook. I don’t.  But I do love to grill. I take some of our Italian traditions, like roasting peppers, and take it to the grill. I char them up and keep them in a jar with extra virgin olive oil and garlic.

How about a garden. Do you have a green thumb?
I definitely don’t have a green thumb, so no garden. Honestly, I can buy everything I need at Heinen’s and I know it’s fresh and handled carefully. 

Name a few ingredients that are always in your kitchen.
Always extra virgin olive oil, there’s a big fruit bowl, fresh mozzarella (my girls and I love it!) and pasta (naturally).

What is the most frequently asked question you get from customers?
Not only what is in season, but what tastes good right now. I tell customers to eat what’s in season and you can’t go wrong. You can also ask anyone on the produce floor for a taste of something. We’re more than happy to let you try before you buy.

3 comments

  1. Nice article. Makes me hungry. ;o)

    We ALWAYS judge a grocery store by the quality of its produce. Sounds like Heinan’s understands the importance of superior produce. We’ll likely be moving to the Northeast Ohio area in the next year or two. I guess I know where my wife will want to shop.

  2. That is so totally awesome! Congratulations, Mario!! The promotion most definitely went to the right person! I learned so much from your father and you. I have the utmost respect for your father even though he yelled at me too. I wish only the best for you. I know you can do it. Love you.Give Rico my love too.

  3. “Mario: A few days ago I purchased probably the very best kale ever at Heinen’s produce department. For a moment I thought I was sitting in my mother’s kitchen eating her delicious “”Gr√ľnkohl Eintopf””.
    Thank you for taking me back home.
    Ortrud Scherer
    (born and raised in Germany)”

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