Fueled by the buy local trend, the Go Texan campaign has continued to grow in popularity since its inception nearly 15 years ago.
The program, administered by the Texas Department of Agriculture, is designed to highlight products grown or processed in the state. Producers and processors that meet the requirements can affix the Go Texan logo to their products.
“When you walk into a grocery store and see Texas produce, the majority of those producers are in our Go Texan program,” said Richard De Los Santos, marketing coordinator with the Austin-based department.
Most of the calls he receives about the program come from producers wanting to join because retailers they serve are asking for labeled items.
“Retailers love it because it showcases the local produce,” De La Santos said. “I think the buy local trend is something that’s going to continue to be important to consumers. As long as it keeps going in that direction, so will the Go Texan logo.”
Eddie Owens, director of communications and public relations for Lubbock-based United Supermarkets LLC, sees the demand for locally grown produce continuing to grow among its shoppers. In fact, a “Texas Fresh” banner hanging over the produce department greets shoppers as they enter the front of United’s two newest Market Street specialty stores.
“We want our guests to recognize that we’re committed to providing as much locally grown produce as we possibly can,” Owens said.
The retailer also participates in the Go Texan program and plays it up every summer during its Best of Texas Expo.
“I think they’ve done a great job marketing (the Go Texan program), and we certainly will take advantage of those opportunities ourselves every chance we get,” Owens said.
Brent Erenwert, vice president of Houston-based Brothers Produce, said the wholesaler/distributor participates in the program because many of their high-end chef customers request it.
“It’s a good deal for us,” Erenwert said. “The chefs really want local. Everybody’s really excited to have them promote local. It’s not a big part of our business, but it’s a very important piece of business.”
He said the challenge is providing Texas-grown produce from June through late September, when 100-plus-degree weather makes it “pretty much nonexistent.”
Beginning this year, Erenwert said he is partnering with a few larger farmers who are part of Go Texan to grow specific items for him.
The arrangement will help Brothers Produce have a steady supply and avoid seasonal gaps while ensuring growers have a home for their produce, he said.