Louisville, Ky.-based wholesaler Horton Fruit Co. said its retail customers are strong supporters of local produce.
“I think with some of the guys we do retail with, they really do promote that they are helping sustain family farms,” said Mike Passafiume, salesman for Horton Fruit.
“They put it in their ads and try to show they’re supporting the family farms and homegrown farmers. All of our farmers are third-party audited and have traceability and make sure product is safe. They have a good partnership, and I think they really value that.”
It’s good business for retailers to do that, said Atomic Torosian, partner in Fresno, Calif.-based Crown Jewels Marketing & Distribution LLC.
“It helps to promote local grown,” he said.
“There’s a Brentwood corn grower who’s been growing the same seed variety for 20 years, and you’ll see a frenzy in the local stores (for his corn). In the Northwest, when they have their local grown in blueberries or stone fruit, they really display it well in the stores and have a picture of the guy sometimes. It seems to generate sales.”
A straight-from-the-field approach works well for retailers, said Ed Odron, owner of Odron Produce Marketing & Consulting Services, Stockton, Calif.
“The key is that it’s really fresh product,” Odron said.
“What the retailers are trying to do is let them know they have local, whether it’s corn or grapes, so they can compete with the farmers markets. That’s the key to locally grown.”