Grocer increases amount of locally grown produce
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Midwest grocer Meijer, which began by selling locally produced foods from area farmers, is substantially expanding its commitment to home grown fruits and vegetables by 20 percent this year, said Mark Stevenson, produce director at the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based supercenter chain.
Meijer’s Home Grown initiative of sourcing fruits and vegetables from local producers has grown considerably the past five years to include more than 75 Midwest farms and farmers. In total, Meijer expects to pump more than $60 million into local economies through its program of partnering with farms throughout Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky, up from $50 million last year.
Currently, Meijer is one of the largest buyers of locally grown produce in its five-state region. The company states that local produce accounts for nearly 27 percent of all the fruits and vegetables sold throughout the 195-store supercenter chain during the peak growing season.
More than 75 different fruits and vegetables are sourced from area farmers and sold at Meijer stores throughout the Midwest. Nearly half of the growers Meijer supports through its Home Grown program deliver their fresh fruit and vegetables directly to individual stores. Last year alone, Meijer sold more than 20 million pounds of apples from Michigan.
Last year, the grocer contracted with 65 local farms and farmers. This year, it is working with 10 additional local suppliers. Throughout the year, Meijer’s produce buyers are working with local growers to source an even greater number of locally grown products that traditionally are purchased from California or internationally.
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