Grand Rapids-based Meijer Inc. today announced its affiliation to nearly 125 local growers represents an annual economic impact of nearly $100 million within six states including Michigan. The company also says it’s looking for more local growers in the Midwest to partner with.
“Meijer has a longstanding commitment to buying locally grown produce when available as long as the quality meets our high standards,” says Jerry Suter, vice president of fresh merchandising for Meijer.
Suter says the chain has increased its partnerships with local growers by 25 percent in the past two years with growers in Michigan and five surrounding states. Suter says Meijer purchases 1 million pounds of asparagus and 3.5 million pints of blueberries from Michigan farms annually.
In 2013, Meijer began purchasing Michigan-grown tomatoes year-round from Mastronardi Produce, a hydroponic greenhouse in Coldwater. The partnership expanded earlier this year to include sweet peppers year-round.
The retailer also cited its relationship with E. Miedema & Sons Inc., a fourth-generation family farm in Byron Center, near Grand Rapids, began nearly 80 years ago when Ralph Miedema delivered cabbage and squash to Hendrik Meijer at the Greenville store.
Suter says Meijer will open 11 new stores in the Midwest by the end of 2015, and seeks growers in those areas. The company opened a supercenter on Detroit’s northwest side earlier this month, and operates 217 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky.