Roch’s Fresh Foods: A family tradition of goodness and taste

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 10:30am
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Ray Roch grew up around the aromas, tastes and colors of fresh fruits and vegetables. He is a third generation green grocer, and the father of a fourth.

“I tell people before I was born into this. I was predestined to do this,” he said. “This” is Roch’s Fresh Foods, located on Boston Neck Road in Narragansett, which his family opened in 2002.

This year marks the Roch family’s 75th year in the grocery business, which started with a small market that was opened by his grandfather Joe in West Warwick in 1945.

The market in West Warwick was basically split into two businesses: the grocery and meat market inside and the fruit and vegetables outside. Ray Roch’s uncle got the grocery and his dad Ray Sr. was given the fruit and vegetables. That’s where Ray Roch grew up.

“It was a classic open air market,” said Ray. His dad eventually expanded into wholesale deliveries — the first account was J.J. Newberry’s — and those childhood experiences eventually led Ray Jr. to open his own food market almost 20 years ago. Roch’s now serves schools and restaurants, and partners with the Rhode Island Food Bank, which helps feed 60,000 people throughout the state. The company will also cater a family celebration.

Perhaps the best description of Roch’s is that it is a smaller version of Whole Foods. The shelves are impeccably arranged, the fruits and vegetables are beautifully fresh, looking like they are bursting with flavor. The deli section is stocked with the finest cuts of meat and wide array of salads, side dishes, and delicious prepared foods available as well. The store focuses on the highest quality foods and personalized, friendly service.

Ray Jr. starts his day at 3:30 in the morning. His working life is centered around keeping his inventory as fresh as possible.

“I worry about my bananas going bad,” he says, but it isn’t meant as a joke. “I’m always rotating my inventory. It’s basically around the clock.” He fills an order and ships it out as early as possible.

Due to restrictions set by the state government, only seven customers are allowed into the store at one time — there is a person outside the building to monitor traffic — and all staff is required to wear masks and gloves. He had particular praise for his staff and how they are assisting customers during this anxious time.

One thing Ray said he has been particularly pleased to start is the delivery service to Block Island, which he said will continue even when things return to some semblance of normal.

He said business dipped when the pandemic began, but Roch’s Fresh Foods is now bouncing back strong.

“We’re great, we’re keeping everyone busy, we’re adding new inventory every day,” he said.

 

For more information, visit rochs.com.

Roch’s Fresh Foods

1138 Boston Neck Road

(401) 284-2900

 

To place an order, call a day in advance

before 3 p.m. at 1 (800) 799-0065 or email

the order to orders@rochs.com