On any given day, pass by Magee’s House of Nuts and you will most likely notice Doris Perez’s signature white blouse and kindred demeanor from behind the counter. The Irish-bred, long-time employee has been working at The Original Farmers Market for 54 years, with 12 of them being at Magee’s Nuts. (Fun Fact: Magee’s Kitchen and Magee’s House of Nuts recently celebrated their 100th anniversary!)
And, after working at the Market for more than five decades, Doris still considers herself, first and foremost, its biggest fan.
How did you get your start working at The Original Farmers Market?
My husband was working here as a cook. I wanted a part-time job. That’s how it started on October 23rd, 1963. I worked at a placed called the Desert Date Shop. We sold the absolute best dates and saltwater taffy. In 1967, Rudy, who owned the place, decided to leave and there was a job opening at Du-Par’s and so I was there until I came to Magee’s, 12 years ago.
How has the Market changed through the last five decades?
People ask me this all the time. I don’t think the Market has changed. People have changed. We always have younger people discovering it and coming. And the people we waited on years ago, are now bringing in their kids. It’s a neat thing to see.
What is your favorite part about your day-to-day life here at the Farmers Market?
People are my favorite part of my job and meeting new people. Someone the other day brought a paper from China and I asked Tony [owner of Peking Kitchen] to see what it said. I love that there are so many tourists here as well as all the regulars.
Do you think there is a special relationship between the merchants that exist here at the Farmers Market?
I don’t think there is any place like this in the world. This is fresh air; this isn’t a mall. There’s nothing like it and most of my friends say the same. Unfortunately, we lose a lot of old timers but we always make new friends.
What is it about this place that makes you want to stay all these years?
I love the Market. I have so many friends. All my friends are Farmers Market people. I love going home to Ireland but I’m always ready to come back.
And lastly, as a Magee’s Nuts resident expert, what is your favorite nut?
I have three: walnut, hazelnut and brazil. One of our bestsellers is the cashew. It reminds me of when I was a kid in Ireland because we used to go outside in the fields and the walnut used to grow near where I live and we would crack them whole.