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    Farmer Jack Touts Local Items

    DETROIT ¿ The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co.'s 88-store Detroit Farmer Jack unit is embarking on a campaign to focus on fresh products grown, raised, or manufactured in Michigan.

    DETROIT – The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co.'s 88-store Detroit Farmer Jack unit is embarking on a campaign to focus on fresh products grown, raised, or manufactured in Michigan.

    "The Farmer's Market is a storewide celebration -- a festival of freshness," notes Mike Carter, president of the Farmer Jack unit. "All departments will participate with demonstrations, sampling, and tasting." As part of the promotion, store signs will picture "Select Michigan" produce and products hailing from numerous farmers, growers, and meat processors throughout the state.

    "Many of our growers are second- and third-generation, such as the Jacobs 'Fresh Pack' Potato Farm in Bay City, or the Winkels of the Grandview Peach Orchards in Watervliet," says Carter, noting that his division buys grapes, blueberries, apples, and more from local farmers.

    As part of the three-week celebration, Farmer Jack units will offer outdoor displays of fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Store employees will be dressed in farm attire (jeans or overalls, plaid shirts, straw hats, and bandanas). There will be pie-eating contests, grilling, and sampling of many fresh fruits and vegetables. More than half of the stores will have petting farms for children to see and meet barnyard animals.

    In a conference call last week, A&P chairman, president, and c.e.o. Christian Haub praised the Detroit-based division for registering the highest year-over-year improvement in operations among all chain operations for the first quarter, which he said was evidence of the benefits of a new positioning for the division that includes an emphasis on fresh.

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