The oldest of eight kids, growing up on a bucolic farm near picturesque Fern Ridge Lake, Phil Jessie’s work ethic and appreciation for fresh-picked produce budded early in life.
As Produce Manager of our Franklin store, Phil still holds fond memories of sinking his teeth into juicy pears and crisp apples picked fresh from his family’s orchard.
“I would race home after school and head straight to the barn to find the ripest pear I could get my hands on,” he says.
Today, his job is to order, display and recommend the highest-quality pears available at your Market, whether it’s Bartlett, Bosc, Danjou, Comice or Stark Crimson. Organic or conventional, Phil knows a good pear when he sees one.
Always smiling, upbeat and conversational, Phil joined the Market of Choice team as a grocery clerk 20 years ago and quickly worked his way up to manager. He now oversees a team of five employees, whose goal is to bring you the highest-quality produce available.
That means unloading up to three deliveries of produce a day, many from local farmers who’ve brought their fruit and vegetables straight from fields.
“What’s great about working in the Produce Department is that it’s always changing,” he says. “With some jobs, it’s the same thing, day in and day out. I really like the fact that my job changes with the seasons. It’s always fun when the new stuff comes in.”
Working in the Produce Department is also an easy way to get to know customers, he says.
“Some people stop in three or four times a week to pick up produce. I know their names and they know mine. And I know what they like. Some have been coming here for 10 or 15 years, so I’ve gotten to know many of my customers really well.”
Phil’s wife, Christina, also works for Market of Choice. As Bakery Sales Manager, she oversees all seven Market Bakeries. In the kitchen at home, Phil makes the salads and Christina handles the baking. “I can’t bake for beans,” Phil says.
Together, they have two sons. As a family, they hike, bike and camp whenever they can. Phil is also an avid sports fan. His favorites? The Ducks, of course, as well as pro football and NASCAR.
Once the boys are grown, Phil says, the couple hopes to get back to their rural roots and find a place in the country where they can garden and raise animals.“I plan on working here until I retire,” he says. “That would mean about 44 years on the job. I just can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be.”