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Local Farmers Market program helps retailer boost produce sales

Summer is peak produce season, and Associated Retail Operations banners — Macey’s, Lin’s, Dan’s, Dick’s Market and Fresh Market — are adding Utah love to the produce department with its Local Farmers Markets program, which launched July 1 and has been successful in increasing produce sales and guest count in each store

The in-store program includes signage highlighting Utah-grown produce and the farmers who supply them, as well as parking lot tent sales on Saturdays.

“Buying from Utah farmers and growers allows us to offer our guests the freshest produce at great prices, since it doesn’t have to travel as far,” Danni Barnhart, produce manager for Associated Retail Operations, said in a press release. “As locally owned retailers, it is important for us to support other local businesses, especially our farmers and growers. Our guests love that we offer a wide variety of Utah grown products.”

The Local Farmers Market program is made possible through a partnership between Associated Retail Operations and 33 Utah farmers and growers, including Bangerter Farms, Houwelings Tomatoes and Hartley’s Best Onions.

Each of the farmers is GAP certified or in the final stages of achieving the certification, which was set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of the new food-safety regulations. The program aligns with industry trends that show local is the new organic according to consumer preferences.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Sprouts Farmers Market staying ahead of food-waste regulations

Sprouts Farmers Market is expanding the food waste diversion services it receives from Quest Resource Holding Corp. Quest designed and deployed a comprehensive organics recycling program at all California stores, ahead of new mandatory commercial organics recycling regulations.

The program reduces food waste by diverting produce, dairy, bakery, bulk, deli and juice bar items that cannot be sold or donated. The retailer now recycles food waste that cannot be donated at 125 stores.

“Responsible retailing is part of Sprouts’ DNA, and we are proud of what we’ve achieved in the past two years working with Quest,” Carlos Rojas, senior counsel for Sprouts Farmers Market, said in a press release. “Our organics recycling program not only benefits the environment, but improves store operations by minimizing waste. We also are pleased to be well ahead of the CalRecycle regulations compliance date.”

California Assembly Bill 1826 (AB-1826 Solid waste: organic waste) requires businesses that generate organic waste to implement organic waste recycling programs in phases depending on the amount of waste generated per week. Quest is helping the retailer stay ahead of the regulation requiring the retailer to recycle food waste by Jan. 1, 2017.

“Quest is delighted to expand its relationship with Sprouts, one of the fastest growing retailers in the country, and continue to help them reach their sustainability goals in California and across the country,” Ray Hatch, Quest’s chief executive officer, said in the release.

Quest’s organics recycling program converts food waste into nutritional animal feed additives or compost, helping to prevent greenhouse gas emissions and reduce waste in landfills. Quest developed custom online and in-store training to help educate and engage store associates to ensure program is successful.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

US: Northwest apple farmers scramble to save last of their fruit

US: Northwest apple farmers scramble to save last of their fruit

An Arctic air mass has swept into the Northwest. Cold air and snow are expected from central Washington through central Oregon and even into Idaho’s central Panhandle.

Workers at Broetje Orchards in southeast Washington pulled some midnight shifts lately to try and save the last of the apples from the recent Arctic air.

That means farmers in the region are rushing to harvest the last of their apples before the fruit freezes.

In southeast Washington, Joe Shelton manages one of the world’s largest fruit orchards. He said few things are colder than a picking bag full of 30 pounds of 30-degree fruit strapped close to your body.

This week, Shelton has been running crews until midnight trying to save the last of the orchard’s Fujis and Braeburns. All together, Shelton said about 30,000 boxes of apples will probably rot on the trees.

“It’s hard, everyone is kind of deflated, ‘cause we’ve all worked so hard,” Shelton said. “Even all the guys that we have out there picking, it’s like a week shorter of harvest, they could have made another week’s wages. You just hate to see them hanging out there and going to nothing.”

Once apples freeze, they can’t go to the fresh market. And Shelton said juice prices are so low this year it doesn’t pay to pick them.


Publication date: 11/14/2014

Photo report State Farmers Market Raleigh, North Carolina

4.8 million visitors a year
Photo report State Farmers Market Raleigh, North Carolina

The Farmers Market still plays a prominent role in the United States. Last week I visited the State Farmers Market of Raleigh, the largest in the state of North Carolina. The Farmers Market in Raleigh has a consumer and a wholesale section. In 2013, the market was visited by 4.8 million people. The market is open seven days a week. You could find 30,000 people walking around the Farmers Market on any given Saturday. Restaurants and retailers buy there, but many families and schools also treat a visit to the Farmers Market as a day out.

Click here for the photo report

The consumer market only has farmers from North Carolina. Farmers rent a unit per day or week. Others (twelve out of a hundred) are there year-round. Remarkably, nearly all farmers have a wide range of products, often with one main product. The market’s organizers try to maintain a balance in the products on offer. For instance, there’s a waiting list for growers of pumpkins, strawberries and Christmas trees. The wholesalers at the Farmers Market also offer a wide range of imported fruit. Special events are held, such as a ‘Pumpkin Night’ and ‘Strawberry Day’.

Owner Ronnie Yokeley of R&H Produce is one of the wholesalers at the market. Potatoes, apples and oranges are his main products, but he also imports bananas, pineapple, melons, grapes and stonefruit

Click here for the photo report

There was a particularly large supply of local new-crop sweet potatoes, pumpkins and apples. In addition, there was a wide range of local fruit and open field vegetables. For instance, you see a lot of Collards (marrow-stem kale), a product that you don’t see at all in the Netherlands. Unlike retailers in the area, the supply of organic produce at the market was very limited. One of the reasons for this was, according to the manager of the market, that the farmers at the market represent a significant acreage, and not many organic farmers have this kind of capacity.

This Farmers Market has been in existence since 1955, and is managed by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. All in all, the market has an area of 30 hectares, a large part of which is indoors. In restaurants at the Farmers Market, products from the market are served. Opening hours are from Monday until Saturday from 5 am until 8 pm, and on Sunday between 8 am and 6 pm.

Click here for the photo report

For more information:
State Farmers Market
1201 Agriculture Street
Raleigh (North Carolina) 27603
Tel: 919-733-7414
Fax: 919-733-9932

Publication date: 10/31/2014
Author: Izak Heijboer