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Event Recap: From Cutting Board to Board Room

 From left to right:


-Nicole Rogers (Director, Farm-to-Fork at Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau)

-Mark Derby (Director of Procurement of General Produce)

-Shahriar Nejad (Director of Real Estate Development for Pizza Guys)

-Patrick Mulvaney (Proprietor/Chef at Mulvaney’s Building and Loan)


Event Overview:

The Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce (SACC) hosted a BizTalks Speaker Series “From Cutting Board to Board Room,” on Tuesday, August 2, 2016 at Mulvaney’s B&L. The features of the venue allowed members/non-members of the chamber, ambassadors, board members, local-small business owners, entrepreneurs, and food enthusiast an intimate space to mingle, connect, and ask questions about Food Innovation in our region. In addition to hearing the panelist discuss small business opportunities, economic development and the importance of high-quality foods, the attendees also had a chance to enjoy a gourmet lunch featuring organic vegetables and free range chicken straight from local farms in California. The panel aimed to provide the attendees with a better understanding of why locally sourced food is important and an incentive to invest in the future of Sacramento.


The General Produce Co. Team

The General Produce Co. Team.

Chrystle Stroup of Western Contract Furnishings with Santos Duran of American National Insurance Company

Chrystle Stroup of Western Contract Furnishings with SACC’s Ambassador’s Santos Duran of American National Insurance Company.

Melissa Rus of Lincoln Training Center and Kevin Phan of MERX Consulting.

Melissa Rus of Lincoln Training Center and Kevin Phan of MERX Consulting.

Shirley Montalvo of Sunworks and other attendees wait for the delicious food

Shirley Montalvo of Sunworks and other attendees listen in on Tim Ray’s speech on small business and entrepreurship in Sacramento.

Tim Ray, Regional VP for AT&T External Affair speaks out to the attendees.

Tim Ray, Regional VP for AT&T External Affair speaks out to the attendees.

The four speakers of "From Cutting Board to Board Room" speaks about the importance of small business and Farm-to-Fork

The four speakers of “From Cutting Board to Board Room” speak about the importance of small business and Farm-to-Fork in Sacramento.





“Farm-to-fork has become a colloquial way of thinking of sourcing our food. For Sacramento, farm-to-fork is what this region was long before we were here, and if we are good stewards, it will be here long beyond us.”

Nicole Rogers, Director, Farm-to-Fork at Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau

Farm to Fork Director, Nicole Rogers, oversees the Sacramento region’s Farm-to-Fork initiative and helps to further the region’s identity as America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital. She works to bring together local farmers, growers, ranchers, chefs, restauranteurs and like-minded businesses to create an ongoing program that showcases the Sacramento region’s unparalleled agricultural and culinary offerings.

Nicole is not a stranger to the area’s culinary industry, having joined the SCVB after six years as a marketing strategist for Chipotle Mexican Grill in the greater Sacramento region. In her role at Chipotle, Nicole was responsible for building key partnerships and sponsorships throughout the West Coast. Prior to working with Chipotle, she spent several years managing expansive food-based programs at national and boutique public relations agencies.

Nicole is a graduate of Gonzaga University and serves as the 2016 board chair of the Food Literacy Center, and also serves on the board of directors for Center for Land Based Learning. She lives on her own “mini farm” in Woodland with her husband, dog Sausage and cat Fatty. In her spare time, Nicole can be found savoring the farms, foods and drinks that define the Sacramento region.


“Everyone in Sacramento during the Gold Rush did not find gold. However, we in Sacramento did find something just as valuable and it lies within our soil,” says Rogers.


Mark Derby

Mark Derby, Director of Procurement of General Produce

Mark serves in dual leadership roles as both General Manager of General Produce’s Mount Shasta Division and Director of Procurement, Sacramento. His 40+ years of experience in the produce, food, and logistics arenas has been a rich blend of people and products, specializing in and pioneering organically grown produce.

His career in the industry began when he started selling local tomatoes from the back of his car to a local food co-op. As a true pioneer, he was the eighth employee and first ever Produce Manager of Arcata Co-op. In the mid-1970’s he worked at the first iteration of United Natural Foods as a Head
Buyer/Sales Manager. There he established an interstate wholesale organic produce and natural foods operation. Prior to joining General Produce, Mark also founded Prana Produce Inc., an innovative marketing and logistics firm engaged in the distribution and production of organically grown produce.

From there, driven by his passion for good food, he continued to embrace and engage in the ever present changes and emerging trends within the produce industry.

He takes great pride in his family and the great group of people he works with at the company. Mark treasures the relationships built over the years with the suppliers, customers and friends. Our dynamic business has provided him with memorable travel experiences around the world and across America’s farmlands.


“Sacramento’s Farm-to-Fork brings back something more local to California. Instead of consuming yearly available produce such as asparagus or broccoli, we are now consuming more locally grown produce in California. In addition, we are adopting sustainable practices in order to keep serving fresh and sustainable foods for our people,” says Derby.


Shahriar Nejad

“We at Pizza Guys are adopting more local produce in order to showcase Farm-to-Fork to our consumers.”

Shahriar Nejad, Director of Real Estate Development for Pizza Guys

Shahriar Nejad is Director of Real Estate Development for Pizza Guys, a Sacramento based company. He oversees all phases of development for new and existing locations throughout California, Nevada, and Oregon. He has been practicing real estate for seven years as a developer and licensed Broker. Shahriar graduated from San Diego State University with a B.S. degree in Business Real Estate.

During the panel discussion at Mulvaney’s  B&L, Shahriar Nejad discussed the importance of technology and food. In addition, he included that these two will be benefitial in pushing the concept of farm-to-fork.


“Sacramento has been so good to us. My grandma once questioned why we had to order and ship produce so far away from our city when we have such good produce just in our backyards. The answer was there all along”, exclamined Nejad.


“Whatever comes in the front door goes on the plate. Our down-to-earth, yet whimsical style is what makes us smile. Please come, sit, and eat.”

Patrick Mulvaney – Proprietor/Chef at Mulvaney’s Building and Loan

Patrick Mulvaney is a proud Sacramentan whose cooking career has spanned five time zones. Moving to California in 1993 he knew that the Central Valley would be his home. The proximity to farmers and the abundance they produce fuels both the creative spirits of his team and the appetites of his guests.

The B&L opened in 2006 taking its name from the famous Frank Capra film because for a chef living in Sacramento it truly is a wonderful life.

The restaurant is housed in the historic Engine Co. 3 firehouse at 1215 19th Street Sacramento, CA.


“There’s a three part system we are trying to adopt for Farm-to-Fork: The first is to get more foods from our local farms and get them straight to our plates. The second is a sustainable approach to produce because we are trying to educating local stores to sell less desirable fruits and vegetables that would usually be thrown out. And the third is learning the techniques to market the less desirable goods to the consumers,” says Mulvaney.




Raffle Drawing:

Attendees had the opportunity to win a roundtrip ticket from Southwest Airlines. We would love to congratulate Dan Chan, President of General Produce for winning!


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