Demand for locally grown in the heartland rises - The Packer

Demand for locally grown in the heartland rises

09/09/2011 02:45:00 PM
Andy Nelson

The company also sources ample volumes of Missouri-grown watermelons, musk melons and other melons in-season, Danner said.

Also riding the local wave is Norwalk, Iowa-based Capital City Fruit Inc., said Brendan Comito, the company’s chief operating officer.

“The demand for locally grown is tremendous,” he said. “We’ve added some growers and products.”

Capital City works with about 25 growers in Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Missouri and Illinois and offers about 25 items, Comito said.

Watermelons, sweet corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, peppers, squash and eggplant are among the big sellers.

New items this year are green beans, yellow meat watermelon and onions.

Local has become so big for Capital City, the company has an employee dedicated solely to the program, Comito said.

Among other tasks, he works with growers on planting schedules and getting up to speed on food safety protocols.

Locally grown volumes also continue to rise for Des Moines, Iowa-based Loffredo Fresh Produce Co., said Gene Loffredo, the company’s president and chief executive officer.

With five distribution centers spread out throughout the Midwest, Loffredo Fresh Produce can source from Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri or Wisconsin, depending on what’s closest, Loffredo said.

Corn, potatoes, squash, cabbage and cucumbers are among the company’s biggest locally grown sellers.

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