Mario Grazia, Heinen’s Produce Buyer
Meet Mario Grazia. This guy knows his produce!
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.
Do you cook?
My wife loves to cook and I love to grill. I take some of our Italian traditions, like roasting or eggplant on the grill, char them up and then jar them with extra virgin olive oil, seasonings, and fresh garlic. Another great traditions is making sausage and capricola (an Italian cured ham)at my father’s house with my brothers.
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 bowl of fruit for all to snack on, 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.