Getting to know Tim Clarke, behind the produce
21 7月 2020

Behind the Produce with Tim Clarke

Named President of Vanguard International USA in August of 2019, with a long track-record of hands-on experience, Tim leads with composure and confidence. During his 24 years with Vanguard, Tim has overseen Procurement, Sales, and Operations. Naturally, Tim grasps new challenges as they present themselves. His robust experience gives him the ability to pivot – daily if needed – and he makes this appear effortless. Tim is a true family man, enjoying time with his wife, 2 college-aged sons, and their Bernese Mountain dog Reilly, as much as a globe trotter can.

Let’s get to know Tim a little more!

VG: Has Washington always been home or did you re-locate for work?
Tim: After graduating from the University of Arizona, I moved to Seattle to work for Bank of America.  Not long after moving to Seattle I met my wife. Five years in with the bank, and after talking with founder Craig Stauffer for two years, I was given the opportunity to join Vanguard. Still here 24 years later, I am very appreciative of the opportunity Craig gave me.

VG: You’ve been in the produce game for a long time. Has the latest global pandemic surfaced shocking challenges for your team that have surpassed those of previous years?
Tim:  The current times are of course unprecedented, but we have been through difficult times before.  The difference with this situation is that all of our offices, all of our grower partners, and all of our customers globally are facing this challenge at the same time together. The challenges of the past were often geographic- or country-specific, not this one. I am a firm believer that in times of chaos there is opportunity, and that is certainly the case now.  The business has changed and we must ask, listen, and execute with our growers, logistics partners, and customers to ensure they are able to leverage the opportunities presented during this period of chaos.

VG: What is your philosophy on leading and supporting your team?
Tim: A large majority of our global team have been on board with Vanguard for many years. We are a family, and we are grateful to be involved with this truly globally-minded company. I am not a micromanager so I expect that each person knows their role and what they are expected to deliver. Each person knows what is expected of them in their position and together we plan, measure, and correct as needed to assure we are executing on the Vanguard ethos.

VG: What has been a memorable moment for you during your time working for Vanguard?
Tim:  During my 24 years with Vanguard I have had the amazing opportunity to work with our team members, growers, and customers all over the world. Many of them have become close friends. There have been so many great moments! Attending weddings in Bangladesh and Thailand. Meetings at wine farms and grower’s kitchens in South Africa. Baseball games with the Sunkist team. Vanguard planning sessions in Hong Kong,  and countless fantastic meals in China (just to name a few!) It’s difficult to pick one specific experience that stands out most.  The wonderful thing about the produce industry is that each season is different, challenges and opportunities change constantly, but the one constant is relationships.

VG: What does your free time look like?
Tim:  Much of my time outside of work is spent with family and friends, often with a kitchen and meal involved.  When not gathered around a table, we enjoy snow skiing in Canada, beach time on Whidbey Island, and long days at Priest Lake in Idaho.  With two boys in college, my wife and I are looking forward to travelling once the global situation allows.

VG: Do you have a favorite produce item? If so, how do you prefer to eat it?
Tim:  So many to choose from! My wife followed her mom’s passion and makes magic in the kitchen. The following is one of our favorites.  This was published in Gourmet Magazine in February of 2006 and is from Contes Market & Grill in Westport, Connecticut.


(serves 4)

Active time: 45 minutes
Start to finish, 1 ¼ hour
Three types of Fresh citurs juices get a lift from a touch of cream in this light but filling dish.

For Citrus Butter Sauce
1 cup dry white wine
¼ cup fresh grapefruit juice
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallot
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley stems
1 ½ tablespoons chopped white mushroom
1 ½ teaspoons white peppercorns
1 Turkish or ½ California bay leaf
3 tablespoons heavy cream
¾ stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste

For Halibut
4 (6- to 8-oz) Pacific halibut steaks (3/4 to 1-inch thick) with skin
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped chives

Make Citrus Butter Sauce

1. Combine wine, juices, vinegar, shallot, parsley, mushroom, peppercorns, and bay leaf in a 1 ½- to 2-quart heavy saucepan and boil over moderately high heat until reduced to about 1/3 cup, 15-20 minutes.

2. Add cream and boil until liquid is reduced to about 1/3 cup again, 1 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and whisk in butter 1 piece at a time, adding each new piece before the previous one has completely liquefied and lifting pan off heat occasionally to cool sauce.

3. Remove from heat and pour sauce through a fine-mesh sieve into a metal bowl, pressing on and then discarding solids. Whisk in salt, then set bowl over a saucepan of hot water to keep warm.

Make Halibut

1. Pat halibut dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Dredge both sides of fish in flour, shaking off excess.

2. Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook fish (in 2 batches if necessary), turning over once, until golden and just cooked through, 5-7 minutes (per batch).Transfer fish with a slotted spatula to plates.

3. Whisk juices from fish into sauce, then drizzle over halibut and sprinkle with chives.