“The secret to our success has been commanding only the finest quality from the finest farms directly, packed under the Jansal Valley® First-Pick label, and delivering these goods next-day throughout New England,” explains Henry. It is this premise that sets the tone for his approach to all aspects of his business.
Mr. Wainer is vigilant in his quest for quality. He travels the world over to bring the finest products back to New England. “We have developed a reputation with the various farms and growers,” comments Henry. “Together we supply the finest restaurants, hotels, and specialty food stores throughout New England.”
His facility seems to be in constant expansion to ensure this quality. The New Bedford warehouse, circa 1893, was home to the original Beacon Blanket Factory. Today, Sid Wainer & Son delivers to customers not only in New England, but throughout the world. “I have Federal inspectors here to oversee the export of produce that is being shipped out of the country,” explains Henry.
The facility is fast becoming state of the art. Temperature- zoned rooms house various crops of produce. Pastas even have their own special humidity room. Even though nothing sits on the shelves for long, Henry re-designed the facility to ensure the finest quality for his customers.
Henry’s reputation as the source of impeccable specialty produce has also brought him national fame. When Steven Spielberg was filming his latest movie in Newport, R.I. it was Henry who got the call to supply the produce for the movie set. We’re not talking food for the crew, we’re talking food used to design a marketplace scene for a multi-million dollar movie.
Whether the First Lady is speaking in Boston, or John Kennedy Jr. is getting married, Mr. Wainer knows about it in advance.
“We are on the inside-track to many major events,” he says. “Think about it, whatever may be going on, everyone has to eat!” But the truth of the matter is, folks who want great specialty produce and specialty foods know they can count on Sid Wainer & Son to deliver.
“I don’t believe that anyone should buy it unless they think its the best available,” assures Henry. That’s really the motto that we’re running the company by.”
The door to Sid Wainer & Son is always open. “Just last week I had 27 chefs come through for tastings, as well as distributors from the mid-west. All we did was put out some great produce and specialty foods, gave them some bread, and let them try it,” explains Henry. He goes to great lengths to invite people to come and see for themselves, and experience the quality and exquisite flavors from fresh, ripe produce.
“These folks create some remarkable dishes when they come here to taste,” exclaims Henry. “We learn a lot from them as well.”
The numerous tastings that Mr. Wainer sponsors, whether at his Gourmet Outlet, or through his attendance at various trade shows, allows him to interact with people to find out what kinds of foods chefs want. It also allows Sid Wainer & Son to educate chefs about the many alternative uses of specialty foods that are sourced from international markets. “We’re offering key ingredients in new trends of American cuisine,” he says.
“I recently received a shipment of fennel sticks from France, which are quite unusual,” states Henry. “We recommend to chefs to use them to skewer tuna, swordfish, or any seafood that would taste great with a smoky fennel flavor. As the fennel smoulders, the flavor penetrates from the inside out, giving it a nice hint of anise. Incredible!”
Henry conceived The Gourmet Outlet, located next to his warehouse, as a means to open his doors to the public so that they could come and appreciate quality foods. It is a hands-on culinary market, open Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., located at 2301 Purchase St., New Bedford, Mass.. People travel from all over to shop and select from the more than 600-700 varieties of produce, as wells as the numerous specialty food items that Sid Wainer & Son has to offer.
“People are going to have a hard time finding fresher produce and certainly will have a hard time finding a wider variety than shopping right here in our warehouse at the Gourmet Outlet at Sid Wainer & Son!,” exclaims Henry. Chefs and those who just love to cook have, at their fingertips, the essential ingredients to create to their heart’s desire.
In addition to members of the public, chefs from colleges, country clubs, restaurants, and hotels visit the Gourmet Outlet to shop, inspect, taste, and compare food. “What’s also exciting is that when we supply such specialty produce to culinary schools, it’s being introduced to numerous chefs who will soon be in the industry,” beams Henry.
Sid Wainer & Son is filling a unique niche that focuses on uncompromising quality and service. And in so doing, Henry has also become the premier distributor to a growing need for international ingredients, bringing in produce from around the world from places such as Israel, Holland, Australia, and New Zealand.
“This will be the place where foods from all over the world will begin to merge together, says Henry. “As the world market becomes more accessible, we will be the leading supplier and source of ethnic and exotic foods.” Sid Wainer & Son’s catalog is already available on the Internet, reaching people all over the globe.
Many new and exciting projects are fast coming to fruition for Henry. “1997 is going to be a year of introducing the chefs and the produce industry members to some of the finest ingredients, produce, and specialty foods in the world!,” exclaims Henry.