This unimaginable time will go down in history as a time when our country came together to keep one another safe and free from illness. It will be remembered as a time when our hospital workers risked their lives to heal us and our supermarket employees risked their own health to nourish us. As millions engage in “stay home” measures to reduce the spread of the Cornavirus (COVID-19), our supermarkets remain a vital line to keeping our homes stocked with the foods we need to make nourishing meals. Our fresh produce department along with our packaged produce continue to be our primary source of fruits and vegetables. With that said, here are my top ten reasons to love the produce industry right now….
10. Food doesn’t stop growing and farmers are devoted to their land. No need to hoard your produce or worry that it won’t be there tomorrow because our farmers are providing what you need. In fact, Hannaford supermarket, for example, is now receiving six fresh food trucks per week instead of 5.
9. This is the time for ugly to shine! Our produce industry isn’t afraid to show its unsightly side with produce that may not look picture perfect but is rich in the nutrition you’re seeking. The produce industry is finding ways to reduce waste and get this produce to you through online delivery companies and in-store programs.
8. The relationship between a local farmer and their community is a special, symbiotic relationship that’s usually experienced through farm tours, markets and more. When a crisis hits, these farmers are still there to support their community and schools with local produce at a time when it’s needed most. We love our farmers and their dedication to their land and local families.
7. Want to strengthen immunity? Eat your plants! Push the “immune-boosting” bottles and supplements aside and pick up citrus fruits and other powerful produce that’s rich in the antioxidants your body needs to strengthen its immune system and fight illness.
6. Keeping it safe and doing it right. High standards are always applied to the safety of our produce industry, but today’s produce production is applying CDC recommended measures at all production points to ensure our produce is not contributing to the spread of this virus.
5. Donating to those in need too. The generosity of our supermarkets and food industry doesn’t diminish even under these stressful conditions. Hannaford supermarket is proud to be supporting our communities with $250,000 in donations to local food banks to feed those at risk of going hungry and ensure that fruits and vegetables are still present on our plates.
4. Longer hours, more crates and packed shelves. Put simply, our produce industry and produce departments are stepping up to the task of getting fruits and vegetables to supermarket shelves and ensuring the produce section is a place that consumers can turn to. If it wasn’t for their tireless work, we wouldn’t be able to nourish our families during this trying time with fresh, frozen and canned fruits and veggies.
3. While access to a greater variety of produce now exists year-round, early spring produce is still a small reminder of the season and brighter days ahead. When you see local berries begin to be available or tender fresh asparagus arrives you know that warmer, longer days are coming. Our produce is still a seasonal symbol that brings us comfort and hope.
2. No price gauging here. You may need to be flexible about your shopping list, but produce is always there at reasonable prices to round out a meal, provide a nourishing snack, or add something bright to your family’s table.
1. The bottom-line, number one reason to love our produce right now is that it’s a constant even when so much seems unfamiliar. Still being able to make uplifting, delicious dishes brings us comfort and nourishment when we need it most.