Ag department programs promote Colorado produce

08/05/2010 03:09:52 PM
Susie Cable

Marketers in Colorado encourage residents to show pride in the state by purchasing local produce and other food items.

“There’s big support for Colorado-grown product in Colorado,” said Joshua Johnson, president of Ringer & Son Brokerage Co. Inc., Commerce City, Colo. “Consumers support the local produce markets very well.”

Colorado Proud is a Colorado Department of Agriculture marketing program.

Data from a 2009 survey showed that about two-thirds of the participants were familiar with the Colorado Proud logo, and more than half said they now look more often for the logo when shopping, said Wendy White, marketing specialist in the Colorado Department of Agriculture Markets Division.

Colorado Proud began in 1999 with 65 business members. It now has more than 1,300 members, including growers, associations, processors, restaurateurs and retailers, White said.

She said she estimates that 300 are produce growers, including large- and small-scale producers.

Membership is free and businesses can register online at Colorado MarketMaker, http://co.marketmaker.uiuc.edu/.

Members can use the Colorado Proud logo on websites, cartons, stickers and wherever else they want to use it to promote their Colorado-grown produce.

Mike Gibson, sales manager for United Marketing Exchange, Delta, Colo., said the Colorado Proud program helps sell local produce. The state’s retailers want to carry local produce, so they support the program, he said.

Many Colorado retailers are supportive of the program, White said. For example, Safeway participates in Colorado Proud television advertisements, and The Kroger Co.’s King Soopers often features the logo in weekly ad inserts.

Fagerberg Produce Co., Eaton, Colo., is a member of Colorado Proud, said Alan Kinoshita, sales manager, but because most of the company’s customers are longtime buyers, using the logo might not affect its sales much.

Richard Kinser, manager of Rogers Mesa Fruit Co. Inc., Hotchkiss, Colo., said his company has benefited from being a Colorado Proud member, and he thinks the program in general is successful.

Colorado Proud

Colorado Proud is to partner with the Colorado Chefs Association, Denver, and Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield, Littleton, Colo., to host a first-time event, “Feast in the Field,” on Aug. 16.

The event, which is part of Colorado Proud Month, is designed to celebrate local agriculture and raise funds for the association’s education fund and for the gardens.


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