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Dan "The Produce Man" Avakian

Dan's passion for produce began when he started working at an open-air produce market in 1976 . His mentor, Frank Marchi was a 50 year veteran in the business. Dan assumed his work ethic and stayed on until 1985. During that time, he met up with an old high school classmate Jay Michaels who had made a name for himself on Bay Area radio station K-101 in San Francisco. In the summer of 1983 Jay asked Dan to do a show on his radio station KCFM. Dan was excited about taking his passion for produce to the airwaves. He mixed his "Produce Pointers" with the Rock & Roll music he was playing on his show. Dan would give pro- duce tips in between songs with callers asking questions and making requests. Dan eventually bought a portion of the station and became a partner with Jay. A year later they formed a second station KMOM with the slogan "listen to your mother". The station featured a wide variety of music and other programming with an emphasis on local talent. All along Dan continued working at the produce market.

In 1985 Dan moved on to Fry's Food Stores, a chain of supermarkets owned by the Kroger Company. After a year at Fry's Dan was promoted to Produce Manager.

Since that time Dan worked on several projects for various companies in their produce departments. He helped pioneer the produce program for Costco Wholesale in Northern California. He owned his own store R&D Produce Central a popular produce store that grabbed the attention of several bay area newspapers.

He helped establish the Produce Quality Assurance program for SYSCO Food Service at their Bay Area Distribution Center. He helped build the produce program for Webvan.com the failed online grocer. His most recent contribution to the produce industry is as as Liaison of Public and Vendor Relations at VegiWorks Inc. San Francisco's top purveyor of fresh produce and at Fresh Promotions, a face to face marketing program that is part of The Produce Pair's promotions of fresh fruits and vegetables.

In early 1998, Dan hooked up with Guido an old acquaintance that was writing a produce column for some local newspapers. "Guido came to me & said 'lets do a radio show . I contacted Jay Michaels and he put us on the air the very next week."

Dan & Guido are "The Produce Pair". Guido uses his writing name "Guido the Gardener" and Dan uses the name that folks gave him everywhere he worked "Dan the Produce Man", Its only natural" Avakian said in a recent interview, "folks seemed to come up with this name for me everywhere I've worked, so I had to use it. It stuck".

Look for "Dan the Produce Man's" bi-monthly Produce article in Alameda Magazine and "Getting Fresh" at www.beyondwonderful.com.

Today a fresh PodCast of The Produce Pair is posted Saturdays at 12:00 noon. The program features guests from many areas of the produce industry and the culinary world including chefs, authors, nutritionists & more. "The Show is upbeat, fun & relaxed" says Avakian. " we try not to wag our fingers at you telling you to eat your vegetables. I'm sure your mother did enough of that when you were a kid. We just promote produce and we have a real good time doing it."

Check your local listings for a station near you or contact Dan Avakian at his email: