"Your Produce Man" Michael Marks

Monday, August 27th

Where else but Nor Cal would your Produce Man call home? Michael is a walking,talking encyclopedia of produce facts! But....is there a fruit or vegetable that even your Produce Man won't eat?    
00:22:09

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Social launch from emotion. And. And shoot. So let's produce Michael marks. Where. Do you get your assurance you're sure it's amazing what the you ask the number one question asked to view produce manager is not how pick out a good watermelon. Or how to store my salary is the number one question is where it in the what are your shirt. So you know when I first started in television. While a long time ago not about thirty years ago now. I went to Christine craft who is anchor for channel 31 at the time yes and united got it gotten to know each other and and so I went to her said you know I'm gonna start doing is producing on KL VR. And I need a produce look. You know something that would as soon as people see it yet that's the produce guy. So we thought of suspenders. Rides like a farmer yes so for so the first year I'm on television would do we hopper on get on our. I had suspenders on every week a different pair of suspenders wide suspenders fancy suspenders colorful suspenders. In after years it just didn't. Eight. Went back to Christine just didn't work didn't say proteins policies and as we were to say but anyway yeah as weird. So my wife went to rocks. And at Ross. On the Iraq was a kiwi fruit sure. And it was my very first producer as soon as I put that shirt on. This is it I have got to beat the Prodi's man an ever since then I've been an insurance and sixty shirts in my closet I was. It SA sixty shirts and you Wear them season by season just name off if you you either of those feature this year Pete just today peaches tomatoes strawberries Barry is melons I have bell peppers. I have cucumbers you name a fruit. But there is one I don't have I'll tell me cranberries. OK I do not have a cranberries shirt but then again I'm only where once a year. I'm better write that down the basic I come across it in my in my world of course the Internet now you can. Google you know cranberry shirt as it happens NASA my mother in law and my wife there on the hunt always for some good material removed and unfortunately I lost my seamstress I have the same seamstress for all of these years 28 years. The same scenes and Erica bless her heart choose 82 years old are sold German lady I was her last customer. Let's say you would buy material and she would make shirts side two and a half yards I buy three and a half yards of one of the same church from one of my boy's mother you remember the little guy are generally I do so I'd always make a shirt for them as well so would we go out to. To speak at a school I'd. 101 of them along with me and and they'd be in their little Prodi share in the front row of the with kindergartners and I've become law drove. Do you have a favorite piece of produce. A favorite piece approaches deaths like my favorite produce like what I love eating US oh my gosh cherries. Is there anything more wonderful than a cherry. I used to cherry farmer wants a Washington State if you were god and you could recreate the cherry. What would you do differently your pet now that's exactly what he said I bet epic that they head out flip but then again if you have Brothers or sisters its focus on this event out of. What is I'm gonna I have all my eclectic bizarre Prodi's questions for the next 1520 minutes. What is the most undervalued or misunderstood piece of producing your opinion. What you know that that's a very interesting question because there's a whole bunch of them. I'd bet is fired ask everybody who's listening. A what's on your grocery list to. They would have the same 56 maybe seven pro design I was tomatoes onions potatoes. And supply and as Kelly Wallace flat not yet it. So yes and everybody has the same ones. Look out there they're 340. More. Well and most of you missing so for example on CBS thirteen movement after the pass six weeks I've been due and melon Monday. I've been getting a new Mallon every single Monday in introducing people to melons and most people when they think Mallon to think watermelon. Cantaloupe and honey do homes are so many prayers shall on race Obama. Are my game you know the cassava came from I do not cassava Turkey no way way back there at the end they spell their cassava with a K. But at I went to they announced that shot at the Charlotte Mallon. Have you ever heard of that and I have oh my goodness the Charlotte Mellon one of the most difficult balance on the face of the planet to grow. There is a very famous actress who was in France to film a movie. That we've been it's been. Nobody has told us her name so wins she was in France every morning and she was served this one particular Mallon. She fell in love with a smile on. So she grabbed some of the seeds from the Mellon I suggest we don't do that we know the USDA. And the California department of food and I do not like bringing in. Other seeds and plants in biology from other parts of the world because. Bad things could happen especially here in California. But she brought those seeds back in the United States and chant a farmer inflow in Florida was a friend of hers so it can you grow these melons. Well what Mellon ISIS' I don't know like I wrote down the name and and as most melons they originated in Persia. Old Persian what we call Iran today answer she wrote down his famous name had like twenty characters and it and and most of them were you know cell of the most of more consonants and and she couldn't pronounces the under the there exactly. So this farmer started growing he renamed the Mallon after his two daughters he had two daughters and Sharon and Lynn. So that's how come we have the Charlotte and Mallon today. AuthenTec it it is and so difficult to grow this farmer learned early on how to if it's very heavy melon like eight to ten pounds. Has a very thin rind. So every day he had to go into the fields and turn that Mellon one quarter turn happens turn the Mallon one quarter turn. And then he had it get some because it's so big. It can peek out from underneath the leaves every day his workers had to go on the field and covered and I feel believes back over this now and so what the bird. It's crazy afoot when was the last time you learned a new fact about a piece of Prodi is because I EU you have so much great information. Do you still do as well here's something or if I burn something you don't. Did not know about about this piece of Brothers oh my goodness yes every time I am with a farmer. Every time I asked them the silliest questions I asked of the dumbest questions. For example I was with a guy by the name of Victor both moved you've never heard of them have you from. Doctor Victor both worked for UC. I university California for more than forty years. And he's the guy developed virtually every strawberry that you and I eat today Nolan so. I was interviewing doctor Victor both he's known as mr. strawberry around the world. If you wanna know anything masked robbers he called doctor Victor bout he retired a few years ago but anyway when I was interviewing him. I asked him at right at the NF I kind of feel like Colombo all the time. Oh by the way have one more question I thought I know one more question you know. And so this was one of my by the way by the way I I have a question how many seeds are on the strawberry. Without hesitation. Doctor Victor both mr. strawberry this guy knows. There are around 200 seeds on every strawberry today. I myself is made it. I awesome so this is what I get to do with when I am out with farmers I love it every time I'm with whether to California farmer any farmer from around the world. I'm mask in the my hundred questions. So I have to ask is speaking of farmers and this is some of them XP says sound especially where we live in this fertile fertile part of the world. The average age of farmers is in their mid fifties and a lot of younger people I've shared the story of why talk to young person. Who is in a family farmers and he looked and he said. I'm gonna grow myself one. Crop of condominiums and be done with this and I said what pieces. I don't wanna live and die by heat and by storms and bypass and drought. And it's you know some people act as you know Michael love farming but for summit I wanna get up at 4 in the morning so what are your thoughts on. The next generation that has to have your passion for. Wrote this in this area. That's a great question over the past three decades there has been a wedge put between the consumer and the farmer. And a lot of that wedge has been put in by environmentalists. Who who said that farmers are polluting in the soil their polluting our water. And I've got to tell you every farmer I've met whether it's in Chile Mexico. In Western Europe whether it's in Massachusetts Washington British Columbia or right here in California. These and there are some of the best farmers found anywhere on the face of the planet and the one thing I've learned about every farmer here and they love. The land. They love what they do. They don't worship the light and moved but they love it now and they do everything they can to keep it as clean as possible and what you just said. About of the Farmar that you talked to it's exactly right. Here's every farmer they're having to deal with not just market conditions because things could be dirt cheap and its net Disney them. Pay them to harvest their crop of whatever. They they grow but they have to deal with the environmentalist they have to deal with all of all the regulations. Here in the state of California that the deal water. Here in the state of California and I have often said whoever controls water here in California will control. The future of California and for years. That was the farmers farmers have the water rights it's been taken away from them buy it by the by it by government. Ends as so they have to deal farmers that they have to deal with encroachment of of houses and urban life coming around them. So yes why not grow one crop of houses and be done with that there's a farmer in San Jose he's completely surrounded. Mr. mug Laughlin he's the final farmer in San Jose San Jose was the Garden City. Yeah I grew up in Sunnyvale with Charlie Olson and his cherries and it was so it was magical yes that whole Santa Clara valley it was it was. Plums and nectarine zinni went upstairs and apricots oh my goodness paper cuts but dried apricots they had down there and but it all went away and mr. McLaughlin was the final one. And he had like 45 acres and was grown as little leaf lettuce and he's just being surrounded by all of these big high rise isn't everything else and so our farmers today however they are producing far more. Fruits and vegetables on far less land than ever before. I mean yeah they have doubled tripled quadrupled. The amount of production and they're still and at the still doing it the best way. Off some. Have you ever met a piece of cronies that she didn't like and growing up did you like produced. I growing up produced to me was canned corn and frozen green bean takes that was it affect him in fact when I was at I was working at a grocery store. A little one stop market up in the senator Sutter hill California move. And I was a courtesy clerk has bagging groceries in my all the old ladies left behind it. I get tips from these old ladies dollar tips and this back in 1976 he got. Dollar tip shirt high suffer college kid who hope. So it owners of the stark animus and Mike are our customers love you we want to make you a journeyman clerk we want to put you. In to the produce department. They could see. Mike countenance drop the horror but the I knew nothing about pro does nothing to it literally it was canned corn and frozen green beads that was broad estimate. So I I appealed to them I said would you please reconsider I know you have decision in the frozen food section. I would be the best frozen food person ever ever add could you please rethink it over the weekend a what they decide yes will rethink it over the weekend. Monday came around they said Mike will wanna meet with you we've decided we're gonna put you in the produce department. Thank goodness and the rest is history you see me as your protein as your your frozen food sure to be boring as hell so there's that they would agree that had to Wear gloves all the I am so. Is living in an amateur counting I was so fortunate and I grabbed my knife I went to work and I began learning in you know my learned from them my customers you know my customers work. Not all the old Italians. And all field Yugoslav women who would come into my storage shot. We are the only this is we only had two stores in all of Amador county one was safe way of what was asked me and we were the the week and they all came to less for produce. And so when ever saw one of those one of those Italian ladies come in and most of them. They grew up on the old farms whom they knew about produce so I grabbed my knife. And I'd start following him following them around my produce section how do you know that's a good cantaloupe. I mean in a store that candle what do you do with that cantaloupe. Happy you know that's a good to me these poor lady's take command. Innings and I'd follow them around for fifteen minutes escape. And that they gave me my start of learning. About protease that's a great story is there a piece of Prodi is that you don't care for. Well they're like it's like choosing between your children I now play. Well I I learned to love this child of mine yes tell me beats. I still can't do beats Michael you know beats to me growing up in elementary schools we were given those slice these aren't in on our lunch you know who I could that they tastes like dirt now so why would I want to eat dirt and that protection so anyway doing hopper it's his last segment that he and I are doing together he was retiring move. And so I did a show with Dewey hopper on all the produce items. That I have never done with Dewey hopper to wasn't a lot of them because he and I were together for many many years. And one of those items was beats. I held at the beats and I said African and still not gonna talk about it but since then I've I you know I've I've married Jolie and Julie loves beats her mom loves beat I have since learned to love beets but they are so good for you and there's so many different brides. Day later we are the sweetest vegetable grown on planet earth they have so much sugar in them being here hit the term sugar beets. What is the most. Nutritious and I get sacked varies from person to person you know wait what is going from person to person what do you is the super protease have a food out there. Well you know there are many that there are many superffoods you know Barry's. Are are loaded with anti accidents the most nutritious fruit out there are grown on planet earth today commercially ground here in California is the kiwi fruit. I want you to look at that kiwi fruit little brown Fuzzy furry little thing C universe thinking without this little further than nick crazy scenes inside I know I'll I know I remember when they first started groaning and hammer Canada Skype within a couple of rows up there. And he put his kiwi fruit app by app by ridge road and little table you put in a dollar for a couple kiwi fruit my mom went by Wednesday's says. You may pay a dollar for those brown Fuzzy they know it. Bit kiwi fruit literally is a vitamin pill. It's a vitamin build a little bit of funds. The ad that you know how to get relief funds. No oh c'mon cap ideally you for how many years I would say take a nice thing you know no way to tell if they're kiwi fruit you just Roberts. Rub it on your shirt and it Bennett most of the puzzle come runoff it is Robert. But you still pinning the skin right yes you can really the kiwi fruit just as you would an apple or or holy smoke yes. And it is them it has everything in that the unique. The most nutritious vegetables grown on planet earth you will never gas. I can't even imagine it is I would give you hint on the it is ugly as vegetable grown up planet earth huh. I will give you a second deadly it was president Bill Clinton's favorite vegetable. Asked us to better remember sweet potatoes sweet it's Suisse is made of the healthiest vegetables grown on planet earth is so loaded. With everything that you need to know what is a sweet potato what's the one that's similar to it and I think we have an M I are they the same yeah I am is a variety of sweet potatoes they're all sweet potatoes. And they've gotten very popular lately with sweet potato Fries but also making a healthy thing and in deep frying well well well. You know. Now but still good for you tastes so good though that it does that. So the number two a most nutritious vegetable grown on planet earth carrots really rock care it's number three. Cooked carrots. Number four. Spinach. Okay and number five. All the greens. What happened the avocado. Well it's not a vegetable okay he kept. All right thanks goes out a character above spinach Pollyanna this man is right right there's been it's very good for you. How much funding how talking to youngsters about produce and vegetables and I'm eating things that maybe aren't in their wheel house it is the finest thing I ever in my life is talking to kids. You know the undersecretary of the USDA brought me. Back to Washington DC. Surely Wacom Watkins and she asked me to speak to Washington DC kids. And I have the finest time when I'm just talk in the kids and getting them excited. About pro Duce because most kids don't have a clue about produced. And I got to tell you it's the most fun I do during the course of the day stock in the kids and I tried to leave a little bit of life lessons with them excellent use in the produce for example I tell them a story about why we have the red delicious apple today. There's a farmer in Peru. Peru Iowa. His name was Jesse Hyatt and he had the perfect apple orchard this is back of 1870s. Perfect apple orchard. Every row and it was perfect perfect down that row perfect down that road. But every spring you would walk throughs orchard any check out all the trees because trying to see which trees fell over because of ice in the cold. And right in the middle of one of those roads. Was this still apple seedlings growing up now he has the perfect apple orchard everything in displaced right. He went over that little apple trading got dazzle pocket knife and he cut that little apple seed leaned down could not have a between the row I don't know now. It's next spring he's walking through a tortured once again checking out the trees which branches fell what are we got a clean up. He walked back to that same place guests want stubborn little thing it it was growing back in those bigger. And thicker than before. It took him awhile to cut that thing down with a knife. Third spring he comes back and he sees that little apple seedlings growing. My goodness it was so big he could uses knife on it went all the way back to the barn gave his hatchet. He cut that thing down a third time. Finally the fourth year came around the fourth spring he's walked in the first place he whipped and as was that one section in the orchard and Vera was. Growing back bigger stronger. So finally just let the thing grow. And it eight years later he picked his first apple from it. It was beautiful red it was a long apple had five bumps on the bottom of it. He took that apple off the treaty took out his knife the same knife but cut that tree down several years ago. He slice that apple as soon as he put the knife into the apple crunch he could hear the ground. Mean Jews started flowing now he too is is everything about him was very excited he took one bite of this apple. This is the most delicious apple I've ever eaten in my life do you know what he called apple. It was read it was delicious it was signaled that the red delicious now he's all of that he called the Hawkeye apple well. He lived in Iowa well the hockey ice it after he he knew this was gonna become apple of the world. And he wanted to name it after his great state that he lived in the Hawkeye apple a few years later in the stark nursery brother's got a hold of this apple they renamed it to the red. Delicious apple if I tell kids that for good reason. Every time they see a red delicious apple in the store or at the farmer's market I want them to remember. You may fail once twice in your life. You may get knocked down once or twice in your life you may even get knocked down three times. That you grow back stronger each and every time. Don't let somebody knocking you down keep you down you grow back stronger. Every time they see a red delicious apples are gonna remember that story they may fail in life. But they're gonna get back up stronger. Q you please not make it. Fifteen years since before we talk again please has it that long no Irish on each other lands at gun tucked in a long long time. Thank you so moisture coming in. Well you know I get one more question for you on the podcast is called nor cal name's YA. What did you settle in northern California when night produces. All over the world and calls to you why here because California grows more than half of all that America eats. And where the number one grower of so many of these commodities we grow more than 300 different produce items. Where else should I live like California the it is the place where America's grocery cart comes. I'm gonna keep an eye out for either cranberry. Fabric or cranberry sure resurfaced. Think she coveted event.
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