GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., July 22 // -- Midwest retailer Meijer is expanding its sourcing of local produce with an increased emphasis on their "Home Grown" initiative which is expected to boost local economies throughout the Midwest by purchasing even more fresh produce from local farmers. The announcement was made today by Hank Meijer, Co-Chairman and C.E.O. of the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based supercenter chain.
"Meijer has always been one of the largest purchasers of locally grown fruits and vegetables during the peak growing seasons," said Meijer. "This year we plan to expand our Home Grown initiative by working with more than 65 local growers throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky."
Meijer handles more than 75 different locally-grown fruits and vegetables from area farmers, pumping more than $50 million into local economies through its "Home Grown" program that is dedicated to sourcing local produce.
With the continued emphasis on local produce, Meijer can offer the freshness of a farmer's market while still providing the variety Meijer customers expect. In fact, nearly half of the growers Meijer supports deliver fresh fruit and vegetables directly to Meijer stores throughout the Midwest. Today, Meijer is one of the largest buyers of locally-grown produce in Michigan, and one of the region's biggest, with local produce accounting for nearly 30% of all the fruits and vegetables sold by the 189-store supercenter chain during the peak growing season.
Whether it's cabbage from E. Miedema in Benton Harbor, Michigan, honeyrock melons from Frey Farms in Indiana, green beans from Michael Farms in Urbana, Ohio, or blueberries from Midwest Blueberry Farms in Holland, Michigan, Meijer's commitment to local farmers was first planted 75 years ago when Hendrik Meijer took delivery of local, farm-fresh eggs, milk, fruits and vegetables for his newly opened grocery store in Greenville, Michigan.
"So much of what we do is aimed at giving back to our local communities through our philanthropy programs and community outreach efforts, said Meijer. "Our Home Grown program supports this effort. By sourcing from local farms and farmers, we not only help put money in local farmers' pockets, but we help bring their farm-fresh, local produce straight to the tables of neighboring families so that they can enjoy the local bounty."
Last year alone, the grocer sold more than 20 million pounds of apples from its home state. It also sold more than nine million ears of home grown sweet corn and one million pounds of Michigan asparagus. Last year, Meijer purchased more than 45 million pounds of locally grown potatoes.
"What makes our sourcing of local produce different is the fact that we strive to work directly with local growers to purchase locally grown products," said Mark Stevenson, produce director for Meijer. "Our produce teams meet with the farmers, inspect every item that is delivered to our doors and work with the local farms to ensure that it's a relationship beneficial to all."
In addition to helping local economies, sourcing locally reduces shipping costs, which reduces fuel consumption, while also delivering a fresher product that often leads to a lower price.
This year, Meijer will be holding several in-store events celebrating its "Home Grown" commitment. For details on sustainable living fairs, tomato-growing competitions, and the like, please visit meijer.com for details.
Meijer is a Grand Rapids, Michigan, based retailer that operates 189 supercenters throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky. As the inventor of the "one-stop shopping" concept, Meijer stores have evolved through the years to include expanded fresh produce and meat departments, as well as pharmacies, comprehensive electronics departments, garden centers and apparel offerings. Additional information on Meijer and the ability to shop for more can be found at www.meijer.com.