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Christian Sarraino looks forward to future growth at Fresh Taste Produce

TORONTO -- Christian Sarraino remembers his first day working full-time at Fresh Taste Produce Ltd. Canada.

"It wasn't what I was expecting," he said, joking about his start as a produce buyer last year. "I had been a salesman here part time for a few years while I was in university, but the switch to a full-time buyer and sales manager was pretty big. I really had to learn each and every customer's requirements so that I could tailor my buying and sales pitch to better fit their needs."

Mr. Sarraino, 23, is a fourth generation family member at the importer and wholesaler Fresh Taste Produce Ltd. Canada, which is operated by the Sarraino family, here at the Ontario Food Terminal.

"It's the rush," he said about why he enjoys the industry. "You're dealing with perishable items, you can't just sit around and wait for a sale, you have to be aggressive, and you have to be selling at the right price. I find I'm often aggressive, and I strive for superior quality; I want my customers and their consumers to enjoy their eating experience."

With his first year as a full-time member of the company under his belt, Mr. Sarraino said that he has learned a lot from his family members, whom he works with on a daily basis.

"The benefit of working with my brother, dad and grandfather is that I get to learn a lot of lessons from them," he said. "It seems like every day in this industry you learn a new lesson."

He has come a long way from sweeping floors when he was 13 years old during his summer break from school at the firm's warehouse.

In addition to floor sales, Mr. Sarraino handles buying of pineapples, cantaloupes, honeydews, California grapes and New Zealand kiwis.

Though produce keeps him busy, Mr. Sarraino has many hobbies that he enjoys in his very limited spare time.

"I play guitar, and I like surfing," he said. "I'm pretty laid back outside of the office."

Mr. Sarraino graduated from the University of Western Ontario a year ago with a bachelor's degree in geography, and is looking forward to using what he's learned to benefit Fresh Taste.

"I'm looking forward to steering where the future of this company is going to go," he said. "My brother and I are a solid team and we're equally committed to maintaining the reputation of Fresh Taste by strengthening our long- standing relationships with our customers."