James Kozy: Staying Fresh
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
LOS ALTOS — James Kozy spent much of his childhood hanging around his father’s produce market—mostly wreaking small-scale havoc, by his account. It wasn’t until later in life that he learned what it truly meant to reap the fruits of one’s labors…in his case, quite literally. “My dad, Craig, started this business in 1985, so I was pretty much born into it,” he recounts. “As a little kid, I used to hang around the market, just messing around and scaring the register girls. When I got a little older, my dad started having me trim corn in the back, and things progressed from there. Later, while attending San Francisco State University, I worked at a Whole Foods Market, where I was exposed to another side of the produce industry. After college, I returned home and started working for my dad’s business full time.”
Today, as manager of De Martini Orchard, James appreciates the opportunity to apply his college education to his family’s business. “As a communications major, I’ve enjoyed taking over the marketing here, which includes handling our social media accounts and print ads, among other things.” However, at the end of the day, James says his favorite part of his job is interacting with the market’s customers. “Sometimes people come in and are unsure of what they should buy or what’s in season, so I enjoy educating them and passing on the knowledge about what we do.”
A resident of Sunnyvale, James deems the Bay Area an ideal location for someone in his line of work—and anyone who loves fresh produce, for that matter. “California is basically in the heartland of the produce industry,” he says. “The diversity of the fruits and vegetables we have here is pretty amazing. I’ll get customers visiting from the East Coast who are totally blown away by all the items we have that they’ve never seen before.”
Outside of work, James spends the bulk of his time engaged in outdoor activities. “I really like going camping and mountain biking, and lately I’ve been getting into rock climbing,” he affirms. “Locally, I like spending time at the Castle Rock Regional Recreation Area, but when I get a chance, I love going down to Joshua Tree National Park.” Considering his profession, it’s no surprise that James also enjoys cooking at home. “With all the great foods we have around here, it’s fun to bring stuff home and tinker around in the kitchen, seeing what works and what doesn’t.”
In his life and career, James espouses a simple yet relevant philosophy. “Stay fresh,” he says. “The world is constantly evolving, so it’s important to stay current with the times. I’m always looking for the next big thing, particularly if it’s something that will enrich my life and the lives of others.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite fruit?
A: Depending on the time of year, either a plum or a mango.
Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The San Jose Sharks.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: South America.
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Hanamaru in Sunnyvale.
Q: Do you collect anything?
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A: Broken-down bicycles. I like to tinker with them, take them apart and put them back together.