Meijer saw shoppers buying twice as much asparagus last week compared to weeks before, a trend that it expects to continue as it prepares to sell more than two million pounds this summer.
While asparagus season typically begins around Mother’s Day, cooler temperatures delayed the beginning of harvest by about a week, which provided local growers extra time for additional preparation, mowing, and fertilization in the fields, according to the grocer.
“Customers at Meijer stores from Bowling Green, Kentucky to Sault Ste. Marie in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula began to take advantage of the late harvest season last week in a big way,” Meijer producer buyer Scott Calandra said in a statement. “Our local growers have done a great job in providing some of the freshest asparagus available. Throughout the summer, the stalks purchased in-store were harvested only a day or two prior.”
While the retailer has purchased from local growers big and small since the company’s inception, its effort to buy produce locally has expanded significantly over the past two decades. Today, the retailer works with more than 200 local growers across the Midwest to shorten the time and distance from the fields to the checkout lane.
In Michigan, local growers and suppliers include Todd Greiner Farms in Hart, Richter Farms in Decatur, American Asparagus in New Era, and North Bay Produce in Traverse City. In other Midwestern states, Meijer partners with Melon Acres in Oaktown, Indiana, and Alsum Farms and Produce in Friesland, Wisconsin.
“While families cooked at home more than ever last year and were looking for healthier vegetables to add to their tables, this is the year of reconnecting with friends and being outside,” Calandra continued. “So, we expect customers will continue seeing the benefits of our Michigan harvest throughout a memorable summer.”