On behalf of its growers as well as those producing all other fresh fruit crops, Pink Lady America of Yakima, Wash., is recognizing Haggen, for its multi-level support of Pink Lady apple growers in Washington and Oregon.
“As we’ve worked over the last decade to build equity in the Pink Lady brand we have naturally kept a close eye on the retail sector,” says Dr. John Reeves, general manager of Pink Lady America in Yakima, Washington. “We’ve been watching to see who in the supermarket world really supports growers. During this time we’ve watched with great interest and delight as Haggen has consistently developed a program of strong support for our growers and others in the fruit industry.”
Dr. Reeves found Haggen to be unique in the way that it supports these growers, compared to others purchasing the same fruit. “Haggen is home to people who are passionate about giving guests the best of the region, each season and every day,” says Lee Reynolds, produce director of Haggen Northwest Fresh, who has been with the Bellingham-based company for more than 40 years. “That’s the way we’ve run our business for the last 80 years and we’ll continue to support our regional farmers the next 80 years. We are honored to be recognized for this commitment to build our local food economy.”
Haggen stands out because not only do they purchase premium, locally grown fruit, but they take it to the next level with a complete merchandising program, Reeves adds. For Pink Lady America, Haggen’s fondness for products from the Northwest extends beyond the produce department, as it’s now in its third season of stocking Pink Lady Apple Juice.
It is also very important to point out that Haggen customers are the ultimate beneficiaries of the availability of local fruit as well as processed products like the Pink Lady Apple Juice.
“Without a doubt a primary appeal of ‘buying local’ in the produce department is the freshness of the products with that designation,” Dr. Reeves says. “The distance from the orchard to the store is often greatly reduced so the crispness is greater in the eating experience and the flavor is likely to be more vibrant.”
The recognition of Haggen by Pink Lady America will involve the formal awarding of a commemorative plaque and, where possible, additional attention given to those grower connections.
Pink Lady shippers who supply Haggen include: Auvil Fruit Company, Borton Fruit, Chelan Fresh Marketing, Domex Superfresh Growers, Northern Fruit Company, Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers, Rainier Fruit Company, Stemilt Growers, Washington Fruit & Produce and Yakima Fresh.