Coosemans L.A., nonprofit back low-cost retail fruit - The Packer

Coosemans L.A., nonprofit back low-cost retail fruit

03/14/2014 11:04:00 AM
Mike Hornick

Courtesy Coosemans L.A. Shipping Inc.Alan Pollack, owner and president of Coosemans Los Angeles, examines fruit.Coosemans L.A. Shipping Inc. and its partners have provided about 400 tons of regionally grown specialty produce at below-wholesale prices in four years of support for the nonprofit Los Angeles Food Policy Council, which serves families in need.

Coosemans’ partners are suppliers providing fruit that’s undersized or has cosmetic blemishes — anything outside normal retail specifications — at a discount to stores serving customers who receive federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children — or WIC – benefits.

“This is fruit that may otherwise be discarded by the suppliers and the costs associated with its production taken as a total loss,” Jill Overdorf, director of business and culinary development at Coosemans L.A. Shipping, said in a news release. The company arranges for the fruit to be bagged by growers, reducing cost while maintaining a slim margin.

Items include petite avocados, bagged organic valencia oranges, organic heirloom Washington navel oranges, organic crimson gold apples and Ojai Pixie tangerines.

“It’s important to strive for collaborative and community-based ways to approach profitability,” Overdorf said.

Coosemans L.A. Shipping is working with the council’s corner market program to extend the model to small retailers and underserved neighborhoods.

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