Written by: Ellie Wilson, MS, RDN
In my work as Senior Nutritionist for Price Chopper, I have been part of the team that helps our customers understand our commitment to quality, of being the best in fresh, and how that heritage has driven what we do. We embody what people are seeking so much these days – a company that is, itself, homegrown, conceived here in upstate New York, with one family shepherding it forward throughout the Northeast, always seeking to innovate for our customers and deepen its roots in each community we serve.
Of course, one of the things I focus on is our produce department. Produce is central to a healthy diet, and helping customers purchase, prepare and best of all, enjoy the great variety of produce items we work so hard to responsibly source and present to our customers is one of best parts of my job.
There is a unique history to how we work with our farmers. The supermarket industry is relatively young, and no business has been more involved in the farm to fork movement than this one. Creating that channel has taken a lot of collaboration and investment, and started here with some very thoughtful efforts by Bill Golub, beginning around 1943. As Central Market (Price Chopper’s original name) started to grow, it needed a larger volume of produce and fresh products for customers. When Bill Golub realized they were having to source fresh items from different areas each year, he started working with egg producers to create an organized industry, so Central Markets would have a reliable supply of the highest quality eggs available. Cornell University and several producers all partnered to discover and develop best practices, and they were very successful. That recipe has served our shoppers well, and we have grown deep connections to some generations of farmers and producers in our communities, to ensure the highest quality, freshest local foods are on your table.
Flash forward to 2014, and you will find a constantly renewed passion to continue this legacy. Price Chopper has developed a food hub, designed to answer the needs of today’s farmers and the demands of our discerning customers for the best local, high quality, safe and delicious apples, squash, cauliflower, cabbage, pumpkins, corn, onions, peaches, tomatoes and more. We work with big and small farmers throughout the Northeast, and help them access the food safety training and other resources they need to be successful. We haul product and produce two ways, so the trucks are always full, protecting the environment while providing the highest quality in service.
When it’s grown here, we get it here. I consider myself the chief promoter of produce, so you know how important ensuring we have the best of the best, and how we partner with the farming community to bring it to you, to be one of the most important things I think we do. I am going to be getting to know our farmers, and bringing their commitment to you here, through our blog. I hope you will join me for some delicious, nutritious, colorful connections that will give us all the insights we are craving lately – where our food is coming from, and who has grown it for us.