Anthony Mirisciotta hasn’t decorated his new office much, aside from keeping nearby his favorite produce knife, the one he was awarded years ago after hitting his six-month mark at a Whole Foods store.
Also sitting on his desk is a yellow squash small enough to fit in the palm of his hand.
“It’s a variety that packs all this sweetness into a cute little package,” he says. “I grew it in my garden.”
Mirisciotta, 36, long ago fell in love with fresh produce and small farmers. And because of that, he has already fallen in love with his new job as GrowFood Carolina’s second-ever general manager. It's a gig he calls an “absolute dream job.”
He took over in May at the Coastal Conservation League’s food hub, filling the role formerly held by Sara Clow, who announced in January she would be departing from the nonprofit she helped start.
In 2011, Clow was tasked with starting the state’s first food hub, focusing on distributing produce from small-scale farmers to area stores and restaurants. GrowFood is now a network of 85 producers, 300 restaurants and 25 grocery chains.
Mirisciotta comes to GrowFood following several roles relating to the agricultural world and local food systems. He launched his career at Whole Foods Market in Connecticut and later moved to Earl’s Organic Produce in San Francisco, where he worked closely with organic farmers and recorded the highest sales in the organization’s 20 year-history.
Most recently, after moving from San Francisco to Charleston, he served as a consultant with North Carolina-based Eastern Carolina Organics, a regional organic produce distributor.
While he was working with Eastern Carolina Organics, he spent a day at GrowFood checking out how the food hub operates.
“I thought it was awesome,” he said. “And I thought Sara was going to be here forever.”
In his first couple months at GrowFood, Mirisciotta is not looking to make sweeping changes. He’s following Clow’s lead by spending most of his time visiting farms.
“My main focus right now is to get out to the farmers and build those relationships,” he said. “I am wanting to get out there and connect people and find ways to move this local food system forward.”
So far, Mirisciotta said he has enjoyed how each day is different at GrowFood’s warehouse at 990 Morrison Drive, where the nonprofit stocks and coordinates the sales of produce throughout the year.
“It changes all the time what we get and what’s in season,” he said. “And that keeps it exciting.”