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The faces of Rancho Vignola: meet our incredible team, part 1

August 28, 2020

At Rancho Vignola, we know that one of our greatest strengths is our team. We are so grateful for the incredible people who join us year after year in helping to bring you, our community, the Best of the New Crop. As part of our 40-year anniversary celebrations we asked some of our team to share their stories of how they started withus, what they love about Rancho Vignola and of course their favourite products. One theme emerged again and again – they were all so appreciative of their team members and the great work culture that we have all collectively created. From being able to jump in and offer a hand to a colleague to bringing snacks and new recipes to work for everyone to try, there is always something to put a smile on their face each day.

Check out their stories below and learn a little bit more about the awesome people who make Rancho Vignola possible:

Have you met Shanda? A powerhouse vegetarian, who’s not only one of our best customers, she is also a sponsored athlete, and one of our longest-term employees! Rancho Vignola has been a proud sponsor of Shanda’s athletic activities for years and she’s our best ambassador ever! She credits our new crop nuts and dried fruit with keeping her energized for her busy life as a mother to a teenager, and many four-legged animals, along with fuelling her training and many triathlons!

Meet Ashley. Unanimously voted the nicest person in the office, we are grateful to have her on our team for the last three years. Her favourite product? She can’t decide on just one! It’s a three-way tie between macadamia nuts, sliced Mexican mangoes and coconut praline pecans. When Ashley’s not working, she busy rushing her kids, aged nine and six, off to various sports and in the summer she enjoys camping with the family and soaking up the hot sun on many of the beautiful beaches in the Okanagan!

Working in the office. Handling shipping. Working with and supporting the warehouse crew. Nancy does it all! A long-time buying club customer, she joined our team in 2018 and has been integral since. When Nancy’s not lending her hands at the Rancho warehouse she’s chasing after her three beloved dogs or quilting up a storm.

Meet Michelle. A happy customer for over 10 years, she joined the team two years ago and helps keep the office humming along! Why does she love working at Rancho Vignola? “That’s easy, it’s the people, followed closely by the product which I have been addicted to for years.” Her favourite product is the macadamias, but she’s also known to indulge in the Chocolate Cappuccino Almonds from time to time!

This is Peter. He’s worked with Rancho Vignola since 2012 and is the mastermind behind keeping our warehouse running like clockwork. During our busiest seasons he keeps the warehouse team humming along, and ensures you get our great products shipped right to your door. What does he love about working here? Aside from the positive work environment, the snack room is definitely a highlight! 

“My whole life and career has revolved around food. My first job as a teenager was food delivery with my car. After moving to Calgary I worked at many catering venues, restaurants and pubs, finally landing a job as head chef. After leaving Calgary to travel, I worked at different restaurants abroad, mostly in Australia. I then started farming while in Australia and continued on Vancouver Island, managing an organic nursery and vegetable garden. Now I have a mixed farm outside Armstrong, BC, growing pasture-raised chicken with locally grown organic feed. Working with Rancho Vignola has helped me learn about the food distribution side, a vital step in getting from the farm to table.”

Peter’s favourite products are the dark chocolate almonds and the roasted salted peanuts, but he has a few tricks up his sleeve. He loves taking different nuts, pumpkin and flax seeds and turning them into flour with his NutriBullet. Perfect for baking bread for the family!

Meet Carlene. After three years working at Rancho Vignola, she says, “Each year just keeps getting better!” While she has worked in most areas of the operation, her favourite role is in the office. “I love working in the office, even on the busiest of days we’re having a good time. I have such great coworkers and bosses, and am so grateful for such a positive work environment,” Carlene says. Her favourite product? The Mexican mangoes! But she also loves Indra’s granola recipe – a must-try if you’ve never made it. When she’s not working, she and her husband of three years can be found working on renovations in their new home, gardening or just being active outdoors.

Joanne joined the team four years ago, and we are so happy to have her. She works in the warehouse and ensures each of your orders are packed with love! While Joanne is semi-retired, she joins the team during our busy season, which gives her great flexibility to continue to work, travel and keep up with her many hobbies, including reading, knitting and getting together with friends. She says that Rancho Vignola “is the perfect job for me. When it’s gloomy out I get to come to work and help out, being a part of the Rancho community.” As we wrap up our busiest part of the season, she takes off for the warm sunshine, wintering in Mexico. Joanne’s favourite products are our cashews and chocolate-covered ginger, and her favourite recipe is the Raw Velvet Chocolate Pudding.

This is Erin. She joined us in 2016, helping out in the warehouse and then rejoined the team in late 2017 as the coordinator of Rancho Cooling and Property Management. Erin has the daunting task of creating and updating all policy and procedures and ensuring all certifications are up to date. She also recently added human resources and systems coordinator to the many hats that she wears at Rancho! As with many of our incredible team members, she is quick to pivot and can be found filling in and supporting in any area when the need arises. It’s clear she thrives with this sort of agile workplace: “One of the things I like the most about working at Rancho Vignola is that it’s always changing.” Her favourite recipe is our Pecan Pâté, and she also has some great cooking hacks, including using the little pieces of deliciousness that are left in the bags of flavoured nuts in her baking!

A big thank you to everyone on our team who makes working at Rancho Vignola so wonderful, and who are helping to support a great food ecosystem! Stay tuned for part two in the coming months, where we will share more of our team’s stories!

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