Name: Tony Como
Department: Fruit & Produce
Place of birth: South Brooklyn, NY
The inspiration to make food your business: My father worked at Hunt's Point Market selling produce. I grew up knowing I wanted to follow in his footsteps.
The road that led you to FreshDirect: I sold fruit and vegetables at Hunt's Point Market — the largest produce market in the U.S. — for 32 years.
The secret of your success: I guess it's that I've worked in the biz so long. People have always trusted me. I believe in giving people excellent service, quality produce, and a fair price.
The most satisfying thing about what you do: I can spot the best of a crop from 20 feet away. My eyes, nose, and taste buds are fine-tuned to know the best of the best. This way I get to help customers find great produce. I think it's great when I get someone to try something they've never tried and they're surprised, they love it — that's the best!
The reason why the produce you sell is better and fresher than anyone else's: I know when produce is at its best and I know the brands that are the best. Our fruit and vegetables stay at the proper temperatures from the time they are harvested to the customer's door. The right temperature makes all the difference. I sell local and organic (when I can get it), which means more options for my customers — that makes them happy.
Favorite type of fruit and vegetable: For fruit, give me a big, ripe red-fleshed plum. For veg, I like broccoli rabe, sautéed with garlic and sausages on a nice Italian bread.
The best meal in the world is: A broiled porterhouse, a big baked Idaho potato, and lots of veggies.
Favorite restaurant: Any restaurant in Little Italy and Peter Luger's in Williamsburg.
The biggest change in the produce biz in the last 20 years: Having all the products, all year round. And having so many different new kinds of fruits and veg — all the new hybrids like broccoflower and pluots are amazing.
Best produce tip: "Don't overcook your veggies!"
Favorite food quote: "You like potato and I like po-tah-to, You like tomato and I like to-mah-to" — Ira Gershwin