Bringing Local Flavor to Fremont
It was a real pleasure to meet with Harv Singh, local food forager for Whole Foods in the Northern California region. Harv began his Whole Foods career right here in Silicon Valley in the Redwood City store as marketing and community relations manager.
Raised on an island in Fiji and living off the grid, Harv quickly embraced the concept of attaining a healthier food supply by tracing our food back to where it comes from.
Thinking locally about your food not only accomplishes that,says Harv, but also “It’s about community—about nurturing and fostering community—and local food is a catalyst for bringing people together.”
And the good news for Fremont is that Whole Foods Market has just settled into their community. “Fremont is exciting. It is very rare to find urban farms, but they exist in the heart of the Tri-Cities area in Fremont at the Ardenwood Regional Preserve,” says Harv, thanks to a land lease program through East Bay Regional Parks.
One such farm is J. E. Perry Farms, a family-run organic farm, which will now be part of Whole Foods’ direct store delivery program— meaning that “produce is harvested and delivered to the store within a 24-hour period,” says Harv.
There is also the Sunol AgPark, which is home to four thriving farm operations that Whole Foods Fremont sources from, including Terra Bella Family Farm, six acres of organic vegetables; Iu-Mien Village Farms, two and a half acres of organic strawberries; Baia Nicchia, nine and a half acres of organic produce; and Foolish Hens Farm, two acres of organic vegetables, cut flowers and pasture-raised eggs and chickens.
One thing Harv is particularly proud of: Whole Foods Market stores “are not cookie-cutter. Each store is meant to be a reflection of its community, and each store is empowered to source local products,” he says. And this is where Harv comes in as he forages through our communities to find the best natural and organic local products. With regard to Fremont, and its particular population mix, Whole Foods is sourcing more items such as Asian Seasons, a Southeast Asian–style curry paste that is fresh, all natural and based out of Santa Clara County, and more Asian produce like mung beans, Chinese long string beans, okra and butter melons to name a few. The opening of a new Whole Foods Market in Fremont may also be positive for local growers and artisans, as it provides another outlet to distribute their products and motivation to keep growing and creating.
Silicon Valley is a mecca of innovative and creative new products. As Harv says, “I meet a lot of Silicon Valley folks that are getting in the food business, with great concepts. They are pretty savvy … very cool.” And Harv seeks to discover them all. If you can’t catch Harv riding around on his bike, or at a local farmers market, you can reach him at Harvindar.Singh@WholeFoods.com.
Photos courtesy of Whole Foods Market.