Meet the Managers: Produce Manager, Blaine

While Valley Natural Foods wouldn’t be what it is today without our shoppers and member-owners, it’s the leadership of VNF managers that has made us who are today!

We’re thrilled to introduce our new produce manager, Blaine! This Q&A interview will give you a glimpse into who he is, why he loves VNF, and what he loves to do outside of the co-op.

Please meet Blaine— our Propduce Manager!


How long have you been at Valley Natural Foods? Please include any VNF roles you held previously.

I have worked at VNF for three and a half years at this moment. I have been a cashier, service desk worker, produce buyer, and interestingly, a vendor.


Why do you love being a part of a co-op?

A co-op is a place that aligns with my values; therefore, I am granted a tremendous sense of pride for the job that I have. Moreover, I am grateful for the staff and customers that I interact with; this environment attracts people that inspire me. Additionally, I enjoy the relative freedom that is allowed for a position like this. It is not bureaucratic in the same sense that a larger corporation would function, I am given the agency to push myself every day with the foundational goal of improving the shopping experience for the owners/customers of the co-op [the member-owner-shoppers of the store] and subsequently aiming for the success of the business.

What’s your favorite product from the produce department? 

Our purple stokes sweet potatoes. These sweet potatoes have a vibrant purple colored flesh and skin with an equally vibrant taste (and texture) when cooked. I really enjoy these and have at the least multiple a week.

What’s your favorite way to spend a day off?

My favorite way to spend a day off is separate from how I actually do. My optimal day off would be my proactive development of things that intrigue me. Right now, I yearn to find time and drive to work on learning coding, going to the gym, reading, and developing my apartment. My actual days off entail my trying to develop the proper habits to be doing these things more consistently.   

What are a couple of things you can’t live without and why?

My food, my thought process, and relationships.
I have an idiosyncratic diet; it is something that is relatively regulated and strict but makes me feel best when I stick to it. The food I eat and mindfulness that goes into it could make or break my day (within reason).
I am grateful for being able to have a relatively stable and comfortable mentality and headspace; I feel that should everything else fail, this is something that I could (and do) rely on heavily. I try not to take it for granted.
I enjoy the feeling of mutual respect and care at work. I also probably can’t live without my personal relationships as much as I think I could. I am lucky to have great and compassionate people in my life. I also find relationships formed with an artist, individual in a podcast, or author very stimulating and fulfilling. It is great to readily find people that cater to one’s niche of interest, even if it’s not a traditional reciprocal relationship.


What was the last TV show you binged or book you read?

The largest consumption of TV in my life was Stargate SG1… If you asked me anything about this show, I know a little too much. The last TV show I binged was Freaks and Geeks; this is a great show with the best casting I have ever seen. My roommate and I enjoy sitting down and watching this.
The last book I read was First, Break All The Rules() this is a classic book for oncoming managers. I am currently reading Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found. I have next on my list The Gay Science by Friedrich Nietzsche and The Life of the Mind by Hannah Arendt.

What’s your go-to coffee/tea order?

I will always order a light roast black coffee if I am out somewhere. If I am drinking tea, I will drink Jiaogulan tea that I brew at home.
If you see Blaine at Valley Natural Foods, don’t forget to say hello!

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