James Parker

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Born in Mississippi and raised in the South (mainly Texas), James Parker’s first produce job was at 16 in a supermarket in Dallas where he trimmed corn, made orange juice, and put strawberries in plastic containers for 4 hours every day after school. James joined Whole Foods Market in 1986 where he initially focused on retail department design and merchandising- helping open more than 60 stores throughout the US. He has since expanded his interests to include the production and purchasing side of the business for fresh produce and floral. For James, produce is “still life- a physical manifestation of our seasonal cycles. Fresh fruits and vegetables connect us to our world in a way that is dynamic and ever changing. It is a way for us to celebrate the changing seasons and our changing world in a positive way every day.” James is also a painter, fresh food chef and advocate, sometimes successful gardener, avid sand castle builder and pumpkin carver. He lives in Aptos, California with his wife Erin, son Aidan, daughter Delilah, and cat Harry.

Blog Posts By Author

August 27, 2013 @ Whole Story
I’m a lucky man. In my job for Whole Foods Market® I get to work with farmers all over the country who are growing truly exceptional fruits and vegetables. This is especially true with tomatoes. This year-round customer favorite comes in a dizzying array of varieties supplied by an overlapping mosaic of producers — large and small, local and long-haul, field and greenhouse — located throughout North America.
February 24, 2013 @ Whole Story
Do you suffer from OBS? See how James, our produce expert, handles his obsession with spring bulb flowers.
January 18, 2013 @ Whole Story
There are few things I like better than guacamole. The flavor and texture are amazing, and it seems you can’t avoid feeling festive when you serve it.
July 31, 2012 @ Whole Story
I can remember a time, as a kid in Mississippi, when tomatoes were not the common grocery store commodity they are today. They were also far from the uniformly sized, blemish-free, picture-perfect specimens most of us see in our local stores year-round. The tomatoes of my youth were scarred, irregular and transit-weary. They were also almost non-existent in the fall, winter and spring. Then they would flood the grocery stores, farmers markets and family gardens in the summer.
July 3, 2012 @ Whole Story
July is like Christmas for seasonal produce geeks (like me) here in the US.
April 24, 2012 @ Whole Story
Spring has lots of wonderful garden surprises. Among them is the brief but fragrant (and colorful) appearance of sweet peas. The plant in my yard has seen robust growth starting late last year thanks to the mild winter. The first few buds are just starting to emerge, and this marks the start of several exciting changes in my springtime diet. It’s about the time artichokes and shelling peas start showing up regularly at my local store and farmer’s market.
April 10, 2012 @ Whole Story
Pineapples are a very important fruit. Like mangoes, pineapples help bridge the gap between the end of the domestic hard fruit season (think apples and pears) and the beginning of the soft fruit season (peaches and nectarines).
March 30, 2012 @ Whole Story
Spring marks the start of the strawberry and blueberry harvest season. Our product expert tells you what to expect berry-wise in the coming months.
March 13, 2012 @ Whole Story
Look at what’s sprouting up at the home of our produce expert, James. Read his tips for a successful spring garden and then share your own.
February 28, 2012 @ Whole Story
Learn what winter hazards await the farmers who grow salad leaf lettuce from James, our resident produce expert. Try out his favorite winter salad recipe and share yours.
February 14, 2012 @ Whole Story
I don’t know if there is anything I look forward to more than the flowers of February. I love all flowers all the time, but there is something special about the first daffodils and tulips of the new year.
January 30, 2012 @ Whole Story
For some folks, making guacamole is a serious, exacting science. For others, just mash an avocado with a fork and you’re done. Try produce guru James’ current fave recipe and share yours.
January 13, 2012 @ Whole Story
For farmers, greens are a hardy and prolific crop, growing well in a wide range of climates all over the US. Learn more about this season’s harvest of collards, kale, chard and more.
December 20, 2011 @ Whole Story
Produce expert James explains the differences in foraged mushrooms, shares his favorite recipe and describes why he treasures this fleeting forest bounty every year.
November 22, 2011 @ Whole Story
At a time when we get less sunlight, Mother Nature brings it to us in the form of citrus. Explore the varieties of citrus peaking in early winter.
November 8, 2011 @ Whole Story
Produce expert James shares the outlook for the harvest of Thanksgiving favorites. Join him in assessing what (or who) makes the best stuffing.
October 25, 2011 @ Whole Story
Master pumpkin carver James Parker shares the ups and downs of this year’s pumpkin harvest and his plan for carving 100 jack-o-lanterns for Halloween night. These pictures are sure to inspire!
October 11, 2011 @ Whole Story
The days getting shorter and cooler triggers a color change in many fall trees and row crops — the final stage most growers wait for prior to harvesting their crop. Persimmons and pomegranates herald the fall harvest season.

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