“There’s just not a long growing season, so the bulk of product still has be shipped in,” Brooks said.
When supplying local produce in an area of the country where cold weather is the normal more months of the year than not, consistency can be a challenge for shippers.
“When the local crop isn’t consistent, sometimes we have to be pretty quick at adjusting,” said Nina Brooks Haag, director of marketing and strategy for New Brighton, Minn.-based H. Brooks & Co.
Wholesalers and distributors agree that the best way to handle supply is to communicate with everyone involved.
Schladweiler said Wedge Co-op’s warehouse, farm and store help it manage supply.
“Communication is the key to that success. We have direct communication with each farm and work with each of them to the fullest,” he said.
Swanson said a mix of local and non-local produce is the key to supplying the Twin Cities market.
“We get a combination of local, seasonal produce as well as what we bring in through wholesalers,” Swanson said.
Miller said the whole industry is moving toward local produce, and promotions can help that trend.
“Consumers really concentrate on where the product is grown and we’re seeing our customers jump on board more with these promotions,” Miller said.
He said a locally grown promotion is one of the biggest the company offers each year. It includes a big contest, among other features.