Miedema said it’s important for companies like his to give local retailers the tools they need to promote their local products.
“We’ll let retailers know what local products we have and where they’re coming from,” Miedema said. “Retailers want to promote them as such.”
Miedema said the foodservice side of the business is especially interested in local, but that the shelf-life has to be there.
“They will use whatever local products they can use, but they’re not going to sacrifice it for quality,” Miedema said. “They have to have the best quality they can find because they need products that can go through cutting and chopping and other added steps.”
Miedema said he has noticed local restaurants and chains promoting their local ingredients, and was surprised this year to eat at a small restaurant in the northern part of the state and see his own company’s name listed on the menu.
Russell Costanza, owner of Sodus, Mich.-based Costanza Farms, said most of what he grows ends up within a 5-hour truck ride of his farm.
“A lot of our business is being directed to our local chains,” said Dave Miedema, president of E. Miedema & Sons, Byron Center, Mich. “The plan is to keep more of it around here, and we’re pretty excited about that.”