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    King Kullen Preps for Local Produce Push

    Effort is part of regional grocer's 15-year history of supporting Long Island farmers.

    King Kullen's produce department

    King Kullen is gearing up to expand its local produce offerings from Long Island N.Y., growers.

    “Our objective is to provide fresh locally grown produce while reducing our carbon footprint, as well as preserving local farmland for future generations,” said Joe Forte, VP of perishables for the Bethpage, N.Y.-based regional grocer.

    The effort is part of King Kullen’s 15-year run of buying locally-grown produce from local farms, from which it purchases thousands of cases of produce every summer and fall. The company, which operates 39 supermarkets and four Wild by Nature stores across Long Island, backs its local produce with in-store signage featuring several of its local supply partners, including Phillip Schmitt & Son, Wells Farm and Densieski Farms.

    The original farmstead of Phillip Schmitt & Son was established in the late 1800s in Rosedale, Queens. Over the years, the farm has grown to become a thriving family-run business spanning four generations, three of which remain involved in the farm, which grows more than 30 types of produce, including red and green leaf lettuces, cabbage and a variety of root vegetables.

    Meanwhile, Wells Farm, located in Aquebogue, bills itself as the oldest continually run farm in the U.S. Started in 1651, Wells Farm, which has designation as a National Historic Landmark, grows green and yellow zucchini and a variety of fall squash and asparagus.

    Densieski Farms also grows a wide variety of crops, including zucchini, cauliflower, potatoes, sweet corn, cucumbers, tomatoes and broccoli. The East Quogue-based family farm has been in business for some 90 years.

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