Craig Moore’s life now has surprising links with his history. Descended from farmers who emigrated from Canada to North Dakota in the 1920’’s, the family’s land is planted to wheat. Now the core of Craig’s business is – wheat flour. “I have photos of my great uncles using horse-drawn equipment to farm that land,” he says proudly. “It’s exciting to link back to my family’s heritage.”
Craig had a taste of farming too, as a youngster in Healdsburg, California. “My father ran the local drugstore, but he decided I should pick prunes as a summer job to learn what hard work was,” Craig remembers with a laugh. “I can say for a fact, that did it!”
The origin of Giusto’s dates to 1940 when Matthew and Amelia Giusto, Italian immigrants, opened Golden Crescent Health Foods Store in San Francisco. The country was just coming out of the Depression when many people hadn’t been financially able to eat well. Amelia was a believer in the healing properties of whole and natural foods, and even as Americans prospered and moved towards convenience and prepared foods, her baked items were so good that the business grew. Giusto’s eventually closed their retail store, and the bakery began supplying restaurants and other retailers.
Sons Al and Fred were concerned about maintaining the quality of their products, and decided that the best way to do that was to purchase their own grain and mill their own flour. They established relationships directly with farmers. “Fred could walk into a field and smell a problem,” Craig says. “He could tell exactly what farming practices were being used and whether they were compatible with Giusto’s standards. He wanted to partner with farmers who believed as they did.”
Chefs and other bakers often asked, ‘What flour are you using?’ so the brothers began to sell their flour. “They were ahead of their time, no question,” Craig explains. “Bleached flour was the norm. But the only Giusto’s flour then (and now) that’s bleached is our cake flour.” By the early 80’s the flour business had grown to equal the bakery, and the brothers decided to focus entirely on organic and natural flour and ingredients.
Craig’s father- and mother-in-law are long-time friends with Al and Fred Giusto. “They took vacations together, and that’s how I met them. We had casual conversations about the possibility of their selling the business to me, and over a period of a few years we gradually and methodically made the transfer.”
Fred and Al Giusto are still a part of the business. “I talk with them frequently,” Craig says. “Their parents passed their knowledge and experience along to them, and they’re passing it along to me.”
Passionate employees are another company asset. This seasoned, experienced group has been part of the growth and success of Giusto’s, and they believe in the values that the company was founded on. “Our drivers are the front line. They interact with the customers every time they make a delivery. They’re proud of our products and the reactions of our customers.”
Everyone who works at Giusto’s appreciates their customers. “Giusto’s has a well-earned reputation for consistent excellence. We have a constant dialogue in partnership with our farmers on the one hand and our customers on the other. It’s wonderful to be making a product that people love.”