An Interview with Brian Dey
Senior Merchandiser & Natural Stores Coordinator, Four Seasons Produce, Inc.
While it’s true that Cinco De Mayo is less a real holiday in Mexico and more a symbolic celebratory event for Americans, there is a significant rich history behind the day and how it has come to honor the Mexican culture, people and food. As our Cinco de Mayo campaign #CelebrateMexico #CelebrateMangoes nears its peak celebratory days, we thought we’d ask one of our industry’s best produce merchandisers, Brian Dey, for thoughts and advice for this retail extravaganza.
Dey is the Senior Merchandiser and Natural Stores Coordinator for Four Seasons Produce in Ephrata, PA. He has been involved on the retail level of produce for over 33 years and has been with Four Seasons for over 22 years. He has logged substantial hours in almost every position in the produce department—from produce clerk to produce manager. With Four Seasons, he has worked a variety of merchandising positions including Produce Coordinator and Produce Merchandiser. Now, as Senior Merchandiser, he credits his success to an “extreme passion for produce and achieving excellence in growing relations and building sales with a subnational focus on in-store training.” His experience at the store level, in multiple and diverse venues, provides him with the insight and relationship skills needed to create in-store success for the multiple products that Four Seasons Produce provides to its customers.
History & hysteria behind Cinco de Mayo
Let’s start with the most important part of the history behind Cinco de Mayo. Contrary to popular belief, it is not Mexican Independence Day. It’s a day that has becomea symbolic holiday for Americans celebrating what they imagine to be the spirit of Mexico and Mexicans. It’s also a day that has exacerbated stereotypes of Mexicans and Mexican culture for too long. It’s because of the later reason that we choose to #CelebrateMexico within our space in the mango industry to help educate where we can, hopefully clearing up some misconceptions along the way.
Cinco de Mayo is barely a holiday in Mexico. It’s mostly celebrated in Puebla, as that’s where the Mexican Army defeated the French in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. In 1961, Napoleon III tried to carve an empire out of Mexican territory, and a well-armed French fleet entered into Veracruz and drove the Mexican government north into retreat.
Written by Nissa Pierson on behalf of RCF Distributors and El Grupo Crespo
Como muchos de ustedes saben, de repente sufrimos la pérdida de nuestro querido amigo, colega y principal agente de ventas, Alan Alvarez, el sábado 30 de enero de este año. El Grupo Crespo: RCF, Crespo Organic Mangos, Empaque Don Jorge y cientos de amigos de la industria del mango lamentamos junto a su esposa y sus tres hijos el fallecimiento de nuestro amado “Mango King”
Este Rey del Mango se construyó a la antigua, a través de trabajo duro y relaciones sólidas. Desde los inicios de su carrera, los clientes de Alan se dieron cuenta de su maravilloso talento para mover grandes volúmenes de la fruta. Clientes que comenzaron comprando sólo unos pocos palets terminaron comprando cargas en camiones, después de ser clientes de Alan. Eventualmente lo nombraron el Rey del Mango debido a su habilidad para sobresalir en el negocio. Fue un constructor de negocios porque construía relaciones profundas y afectuosas con las personas.
Written by Nissa Pierson on behalf of RCF Distributors and El Grupo Crespo
As many of you know, we suddenly lost our dear friend, colleague and paramount sales agent, Alan Alvarez, on Saturday, January 30th, 2021. El Grupo Crespo: RCF Distributors, Crespo Organic Mangoes, Empaque Don Jorge and hundreds of mango industry friends now mourn the loss of our beloved Mango King alongside Alan’s wife and three children.
This Mango King was built the old-fashioned way, through really hard work and strong relationships. Early on in his career, Alan’s mango customers took notice of his marvelous talent for moving large volumes of fruit. Customers that had started out buying just a few pallets were eventually buying truckloads after being Alan’s customer. They eventually deemed him the Mango King due to his knack for excelling in the mango business. He was a builder of business because he was a builder of deep caring relationships with people.
Our Direct Trade mango program gets you out of the cold!
This mango season has been an odd one so far, no doubt about it. Not only did it start much earlier than average but volume output jumped up considerably faster than usual. Peru and Mexico are overlapping longer this season and in high volumes. It also looks like we are in for a longer and colder winter, which complicates presenting consumers with the amazing quality hailing from the Mexican orchards these days. All of these things make for a complex start of the season, which means we all need to be good partners for optimal success. That’s where we shine!
The Crespo Organic Direct Trade Program is exactly the kind of program needed for this partnership success; regardless if you are a retailer, wholesaler, distributor, home delivery agent or processor. We are practicing what we preach currently and working diligently with our customers to achieve fair and stable pricing for all, while delivering the high quality mangoes Mexico is producing and consumers crave.
“Defendemos la igualdad, la justicia y el respeto por todos los seres”
Es difícil para mí publicar con alegría, enseñar sobre mangos y continuar educando (o “propagandizar” podría ser una mejor palabra) cuando el mundo parece estar en un momento tan distinto, al borde de un cambio importante en el pensamiento colectivo.
Si bien creo que Crespo hace esto (propagandizar) con un nivel de autenticidad que es raro en este negocio, compartiendo nuestro punto de vista sobre el mundo de los mangos, los productos orgánicos, los agricultores mexicanos y las comunidades agrícolas…no somos más que una voz en un mar de muchos como nosotros. Sí, nos consideramos expertos en estos temas y, desde la perspectiva de los agricultores y la comunidad agrícola y a través de la lente de la cultura mexicana, estamos subrepresentados en nuestra industria en general.
“We stand for equality, justice and respect for all beings”
It’s difficult for me to joyously post, teach about mangoes and continue to educate (or propagandize might be a better word) when the world seems to be at such a distinct moment in time, on the brink of a major shift in collective thinking.
While I think Crespo does this (propagandize) with a level of authenticity that’s rare in this business, sharing our point-of-view on the world of mangoes, organics, Mexican farmers, and farming communities… we are but one voice in a sea of many like us. Yes, we consider ourselves experts on these subjects and, from the perspective of the farmer and farming community and through the lens of Mexican culture, we are an under-represented in our industry as a whole.
A destiny of connecting dots between farmers, culture, food, and joy
Originally this was going to be a quick recipe post, but I ended up spending the better part of the day to contemplate and write. As it goes, this mango cake recipe revealed to me the story of my destiny. As you may have learned by now, most of my recipes are not just recipes. Instead, most contain an anecdote or some personal truth that is revealed to me once I get the opportunity to write the recipe down…
Today I received a text from a longtime friend talking about fate. This text randomly flashed me back to times as a little girl in Nicaragua, memories full of parrots and feelings of mango-joy. Today’s flashback clarified how long mango-joy has been a part of my life – the result of fate and destiny working together as partners. I guess that running joke of me as the mango queen isn’t far from the truth.
Gracefully extracting the warming tones of a tropical mango for our Thanksgiving table
If you haven’t worked in marketing, you may not be able to empathize with how pressurized it can become – to have to constantly churn out new, creative (and IMO hopefully) useful content. In the food business that means new recipe ideas and techniques to simplify them. In produce that means tips on storage, handling, and usage, as well as flavor profiles, textures, and a fruit or a vegetable’s unique quirks. If you’re like me and want content to be genuine, it’s even more difficult. Mango-infused Thanksgiving ideas are not easy to come by, but I think we managed to pull it off. Continue Reading…
Mi padre es tu padre
Para una versión en inglés haga clic aquí
Una de las cosas que nos conecta a todos en esta vida es la muerte, la comida es otra. Desde que mi padre falleció hace unos años, me di cuenta que me conecto con ciertas personas de manera más auténtica, especialmente aquellas cuyos padres, a quienes también estaban cerca, hayan muerto. Para muchos de nosotros el sentimiento de “vacío” que ahora llevamos dentro de nosotros nos conecta…de alguna manera nos magnetiza. La pérdida en general nos conecta, lo que tiende a recordarme que la vida debería.