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Melissa’s Produce Turns Global Gift Baskets into Local

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Gift Basket Photo courtesy of Barbara Hansen

(Gerry Furth-Sides) Melissa’s Produce Gift Baskets are the ultimate gift for the winter holidays and any special occasion  that brings the gift of the finest and most unique global fruits, vegetables, nuts right to a recipient’s front door in all their – gloriously colorful, fresh and usually with serving ideas.  https://www.melissas.com/Gifts-s/1819.htm

Spaghettini co-owner, Cary Hardwick approves of food writer, Barbara Hansen’s gift basket.

Melissa’s astonishing and changing array shown on the website includes exotic fruit, baby vegetables, okinawa sweet potatoes, coquitos, banana leaves , steamed lentils, scorpion trinidad chiles, bhut jolokia chiles, organic juice boxes, a large variety of peppers.  Wines can also be included.

That’s because the company carries 1500 products, sourced from 40 different countries.  So all Melissa’s wholesale and retail products are the freshest. 

When products are not in season domestically, Melissa’s sources them  internationally.  This is how  “Global interests allows us to be a local provider,” explains enthusiastic, long-time Director of Public Relations, Robert Schueller. ” And, of course the growing seasons are reversed in other parts of the world, so we never compete with domestic product.”

Melissa’s Citrus Crate, for example,  is packed with a hand section of the season’s best-tasting citrus fruits ranging from tart to sweet. ($32.79).  Subject to seasonal availability, the crate includes rich, tangy Blood Oranges, Pink Grapefruit, Meyer Lemons, Tangerines, Navel Oranges, Key Limes, and Kumquats.  (6 lbs). Delivery requirements are on line.

 The gorgeous bountiful basket below features a 2011 Darioush Signature Chardonnay from Winemaker: Steve Devitt in Napa Valley, CA. shaped by a cool, slow-ripening season and displays intricate aromatics and rich, persistent flavors. A tempting bouquet mingles lemon blossom and jasmine with citrus, then unfolds intriguing notes of nutmeg and quince. Generous flavors of lemon custard, pears and apples are wrapped in a creamy mouthfeel, while a streak of stony minerality gives the wine zest and complexity. The oak is exceptionally well-integrated, offering spicy qualities that linger on the finish.

Sending Wine and fresh produce as a gift involves certain requirements on the part of the recipient and purchaser.  All of this information is on the website.

Respected for being the largest distributor of specialty produce in the United States translates into the most cutting-edge gift baskets.  Robert also is responsible for overseeing an educational program on the use of products.  He and a joyous staff of in-house chefs provide recipe testing, a weekly blog and an impressive inter-active educational program for the home and professional chef.  Melissa’s is a featured, popular showcase at major hospitality shows.

Melissa’s, named after the daughter of founders Joe and Sharon Hernandez who founded the company in 1984 with one room and a couple of phones.  Today it occupies a 280,000 square foot office and warehouse complex in Vernon that includes a state-of-the-art Certified Organic Packing Facility.

Gift baskets include the most original ideas anywhere because “global interests allows us to be a local provider,” as Robert described.   You probably have seen the Melissa’s logo on such product under the name of Don Enrique, Rookies and Jo-San brands.

The finest dried cranberries – note the thoughtful reusable opening at the bottom.

He explained how “not only has Melissa’s become known for introducing new products, influencing domestic growers as well.”  Passion fruit is a textbook case.   This past summer Melissa’s Produce has been key in catapulting one of the most exciting kitchen favorites of 2017, Hatch chile peppers.




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Author
Gerry Furth-Sides

Gerry Furth-Sides

Content Editor/Columnist

Photo-journalist Gerry Furth-Sides has been covering the ethnic and American culinary scene in California since it first came into prominence 25 years ago.