experts: Produce quality assurance manager Daryl Meyer
Meyer, the person who makes sure our fresh produce meets your highest
Our produce is the very best in quality and taste. And we’re
not just saying that! Our team of quality assurance experts tests our produce
for everything from sweetness levels and color to pressure and temperature. If
produce doesn’t meet our high standards, we won’t send it to our stores.
Daryl Meyer knows a thing or two about top-notch produce, as
he’s the quality assurance manager at our produce distribution center in
Minneapolis. He uses tools like refractometers and pressure gauges to ensure
you’re receiving the best produce possible.
Q: What do you do at Lunds & Byerlys?
A: I check the quality on all of our produce, making sure it
meets our high standards. All produce that comes in through our distribution
center is inspected upon arrival, and then again before it heads out to our
stores. We’re making sure the produce is the right temperature coming off the
trucks so the quality stays intact. We’ll also check produce periodically
throughout its stay in our facility.
My team and I check different
quality points for different produce items. For example, we check apples for
the pressure and color. Each apple variety has a different pressure that’s
perfect for eating and a proper color that ensures you’re buying a premium
Melons and grapes are constantly
tested for their sugar levels, or soluble sugar levels. I use a tool called a
refractometer to test how sweet a fruit is. To use this tool, I cut a piece of
fruit, place a bit of juice on the device, and hold it up to the light to read
a number indicating the fruit’s sweetness; the higher the number, the sweeter
the fruit. USDA standards are 9%, but we only accept 10% or better.
If produce doesn’t meet our
standards, we won’t sell it in our stores. We have very high standards to make
sure we have the best fruits and vegetables available for our customers.
Aside from inspecting produce and
ensuring its quality (I definitely get my fruits and veggies each day), I’m
also making sure all stores are getting what they need.
Q: What do you like most about working with produce?
A: There’s never a dull moment! My
job is always changing with the seasons; no one day is the same. It’s a fun
challenge. My goal is to give the best to our customers, and I enjoy providing
them with the tastiest fruits and vegetables. It’s really rewarding when we
hear from customers that our work is making a difference for them.
Q: What’s your background?
A: I started out working at an
independent grocer as a carryout when I was 16. In 1994 I began stocking
groceries at our Lunds in Bloomington. Then, they needed help in the produce
department and I became really interested in that area. The challenges that
come with that department were a lot of fun and have made my job so enjoyable.
Not knowing what I was getting into, it really opened my eyes to how we get the
best produce to our customers’ tables. I was fortunate to join our produce
distribution team in 2000.
Q: Do you have any produce tips for customers?
A: I have two main tips that I
always tell our customers:
- Don’t wash your berries until you use them!
Otherwise, you’ll get moldy berries.
- Don’t refrigerate your tomatoes. Instead, keep them
at room temperature. Cold temperatures are really hard on them as they will
lose their flavor and have a mealy texture.
If you have any other questions,
our produce experts in every one of our stores are ready to assist you in any