This month, we’re catching up with an industry voice that we’ve collaborated with over the past 5 years. Megan Crivelli is the brains behind The Produce Nerd, where she goes to the farms of all sizes and tells the stories of produce production and harvest and shares these insights with consumers. With her work at the Produce Nerd, she has built a brand that reaches 10.7k subscribers on YouTube, has a strong social media presence, and recently published “The Grocery Guide,” an informative digest that helps consumers navigate the ins-and-outs of buying, storing, and using produce. Megan’s vision is to aggregate the industry’s knowledge and stories so that consumers are more educated when they are in the produce department at the grocery store. We love her drive and mission to bring another voice to consumers about the great work being done in our industry!
Q. How did you find your way into produce?
A. I kind of stumbled upon it in college. I didn’t grow up in agriculture and happened to take an introduction to Postharvest as one of my electives during my undergrad and from the very first class, I was sold! I went on to get my Master’s in Postharvest from UC Davis, which is an all-encompassing program focusing on everything that takes place during harvest and after (e.g., quality control, temperature control, increasing shelf-life, sensory, etc.).
Q. What is your background / expertise?
A. After college, I landed in food safety and went to work at one of the major food safety auditing companies. I became a food safety auditor and started progressing in the data analysis part of it, but over time, I was losing the excitement as to why I got started working with produce in the first place. What I loved was the hands-on of being at the ranches and learning.
That’s how The Produce Nerd began! I started The Produce Nerd to get back to what I loved about produce and to be able to share that with others. Being able to see the harvesting and postharvest processes in person is one thing, but being able to share those experiences with others in a positive and realistic light is really powerful. It takes an incredible amount of work to bring produce to the market and I have made it my mission to show that. It is my hope that by sharing and explaining this footage that it not only gets people interested in learning more about where their food comes from, but that it also gets them more excited about eating fresh produce!
A few years back, we invited Megan to Green Gate’s fields to feature their Romaine heart harvest, and that video has since been viewed over 580k times on YouTube. You can see the video here!
Q. What inspired your Grocery Guide?
My readers! I asked what type of information they were interested in learning more about, and they wanted more information on how to better use produce at home. That birthed the concept of The Grocery Guide, which teaches how to select, store and prepare 55 of the most common produce items. Instead of taking this on as a solo project, I reached out to other companies for input to make it the most up-to-date and reliable source out there and that resulted in it being a compilation covering 55 crops, with input from 26 crop-specific companies.
Q. How has produce changed for you now that you are a mother?
It is even more exciting! I didn’t learn how to eat right until I got to college, so being able to start off on the right foot with my kids is a blessing. And, now that they are old enough to participate, we are able to cut up produce together, prepare food together, play with food together and eat together. (It is crazy how the grapes in my bowl always seem to taste better to them than the grapes in their bowl!)
Q. What are your plans moving forward?
A. The Produce Nerd is fully shifting into produce marketing. The two main focuses are: (1) I am partnering with fresh produce companies to help them market their produce, and (2) I am currently working on a platform that will help empower produce companies to market their own products (which is particularly needed at this time when a lot of growers have had to shift to direct-to-consumer marketing).
Q. Can you name one fruit or vegetable that is your favorite?
A. My favorite multi-purpose fruit is mango, as it is great both fresh and dried!
The Produce Nerd
Learn more about the ins-and-outs of produce harvest and at-home preparation with the in-depth videos and resources at The Produce Nerd.