Flavored Snacks From Pedrick's Keep A Family Happy
LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:
All summer we've been chronicling the delights offered by local produce stands from fiddleheads to peaches to pluots - that's a combo of plum and apricot. It's fresh fruits and vegetables that lure us to roadside markets, but let's be honest: it's hard to leave without stocking up on a few weird snacks as well.
NPR's Larry Abramson gets his fix at Pedrick's Produce in Dixon, California.
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LARRY ABRAMSON: Pedrick's location is not scenic. This barn of a produce stand lies hard by Interstate 80. It is surrounded by the mega-farms of the Sacramento Valley. But it's an easy stop on the way to the cabin my in-laws share in the California Sierra. We stock up at Pedrick's - fruit, vegetables and flavored pistachios.
Mr. HENRY BARRAZA (Owner, Pedrick Produce): The Cajun, the jalapeno, the onion-garlic, the barbecue, the garlic, hickory smoke, chili con (unintelligible) -they're all flavored.
ABRAMSON: Henry Barraza, Pedrick's owner, has a big smiling face with a head of thick, gray hair. This is the man who has fed my family's snack habit for decades. Out biggest sin: pineapple-honey or coffee-flavored almonds. Every year as vacation ended, the supply would dwindle and my wife would try to ration these delicacies but they often disappeared during midnight raids.
I can't imagine the temptation that Pedrick's workers, like Angelica Grigsby, face every day.
Ms. ANGELICA GRIGSBY (Employee, Pedrick Produce): The butter toffee chocolate almonds - chocolate, toffee and nuts - is all good.
ABRAMSON: Are they your downfall?
Ms. GRIGSBY: Yeah, it's always good.
ABRAMSON: Grigsby is only 20 but she's already been at Pedrick's for five years, thanks to good connections to management.
Ms. GRIGSBY: Henry's my godfather, and…
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Ms. GRIGSBY: …yeah, no, he is. He's good to work for. He's fair.
ABRAMSON: Those connections contribute to the family feeling here. But at bottom, Pedrick's is still a business.
Mr. BARRAZA: (Unintelligible) stacked in the corner to make it look pretty.
ABRAMSON: Making it pretty.
Jose Jimenez has spent half of his 34 years at Pedrick. He's stacking a mountain of corn with a casual precision that leaves it looking like an intricate jigsaw puzzle. The price: four for a dollar. Henry Barraza says he has to keep the price low to compete with other stands.
Mr. BARRAZA: We're not making anything on those ears of corn, but you can go out and for a dollar, you can feed a family of four. You know, that'll be one of the items you could put on your plate and where else could you do that?
ABRAMSON: Those corn customers might grab a bag of something that's more profitable, like those flavored nuts. And you never know when that purchase will turn an accidental visitor into a lifetime customer.
Larry Abramson, NPR News.
WERTHEIMER: You can explore our other farm-fresh foods at the new NPR.org. You'll also find recipes in our Kitchen Window series.
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