You may have noticed that the north side has gotten a little fresher in the past few months, thanks to Produce Gone Wild at 45735 Alexander Avenue.
The new produce store has the same ownership as Hofstede’s Country Barn in Sardis. “It’s a family business,” said Vanni De Bartolo, Manager at Produce Gone Wild. De Bartolo’s uncle, Richard Procee, owns Hofstede’s.
The store opened its doors on April 24, with their fun-and-yum-filled grand opening on May 30.
Produce Gone Wild came to be when Fraser Valley Meats, which had recently bought the Mad Butcher in Abbotsford, approached Procee to see if he’d be interested in opening a produce store next to a new Mad Butcher location in Chilliwack.
Being part of new endeavours was nothing new to De Bartolo. He’d been taking on challenging ventures in the sports industry for 15 years, including announcing for the Vancouver Whitecaps.
When Procee offered him the management position, the timing was right for De Bartolo. “The opportunity to grow something successful was really appealing to me.”
The location made a lot of sense for De Bartolo and Procee. “The customer base from Hofstede’s had always mentioned ‘It’d be nice if you guys had a location north of the freeway,’ because a lot of them lived over here,” explained De Bartolo.
Now that they’re here, Produce Gone Wild is starting to become a well-known store in the community.
The experience that new customers get when they’re in the store makes them want to come back. “It looks good, it smells good, the product is all fresh, most of it’s local, and it’s affordable,” De Bartolo explained.
The fresh produce comes from all around the province. Peppers and tomatoes from Chilliwack’s Garden Green Hothouses; plums, watermelons, apples and nectarines from the Okanagan; and a whole lot more from Freshpoint in Vancouver.
Aside from the fruits and veggies that you’d expect to see, they also carry local dairy products, Triple Jim’s juices, fresh herbs, and seasonal exotic fruits. Right now, it’s dragon fruit.
The trendy store concept was designed by Laurel Kellington. The product displays are built from wooden pallets – treated, food-safe, A-grade pallets, that is. The rustic theme is carried out through painted cedar planks on the walls and product tags that hang from twine.
The high ceilings are accented by a painted quote that fills the height of the eastern wall, “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” – J.R.R. Tolkien.
Stop by Produce Gone Wild and get a little merrier anytime Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Check them out on Facebook to see their newest products and ‘Wild Wednesday’ deals.