NEW YORK — A two-year effort by marketers and growers from the Upstate Growers and Packers Cooperative is finally bearing fruit.
Thanks to the work of the cooperative, which is funded in part by the New York Farm Viability Institute, New York produce is being featured in 38 BJ’s Wholesale Clubs (BJ’s) statewide as part of the retail chain’s Farm to Club initiative.
Farms from Stephentown in eastern New York to Eden south of Buffalo are supplying produce to BJ’s, which is committing significant floor space to the initiative in an effort to meet customers’ demand for quality, locally grown produce.
The Upstate Growers cooperative partnered with logistics provider C.H. Robinson Worldwide to provide New York-grown product to BJ’s and ensure that member farms had adequate product to keep the shelves stocked.
BJ’s has launched its Farm to Club in nine states, mostly in the Northeast. With 38 locations, New York has more BJ’s than any other state, Fein said.
The local produce display features special tables with point-of-sale signage alerting customers to the presence of locally grown cucumbers, green peppers, squash, tomatoes and zucchini. Many of those customers are already actively seeking those items.
The New York Farm Viability Institute is a farmer-led nonprofit group that awards grant funds for applied research and outreach education projects that help farms increase profits and provide models for other farms.