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During the last two weekends in June, New Jersey ShopRite stores will provide customers with experiential grilling events promoting plantains while also raising awareness for a good cause.
In relation to the ongoing "Growing Smiles, Sharing Goodness" program begun by banana and plantain producer Turbana, as well as with the cooperation of grill maker Weber, the event will support "Learning Through Gardening" (LTG), a New Jersey Agricultural Society initiative that equips elementary schools with the knowledge and tools to build vegetable gardens to use as outdoor classrooms and teach students about healthy eating and caring for the environment.
The events, dubbed "Grillin' Goodness with Turbana and Weber," will feature grilling and gardening tents set up outside six ShopRite stores in Cherry Hill, Cinnaminson, Brooklawn, Medford, Sewell and Jackson, N.J. At each location, local chefs will fire up Weber grills to demonstrate how to prepare some of Turbana's summer recipes. Additionally, the garden beds of students involved in LTG will be on display, enabling attendees to find out more about the program.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for our school gardening program to showcase the work we've been doing throughout New Jersey to create gardens in elementary schools," noted LTG Director Carolyn Taylor. "The ShopRite community will be able to see our gardens, read what students have written about their gardening experience and learn how our program is teaching New Jersey children to make healthy food choices."
The promotion “encourages consumers to try something new and different on their grill -- like plantains,” said Jeanine Thompson, events and promotions manager at Palatine, Ill.-based Weber-Stephen Products LLC, adding that the events spotlight "healthy eating and being part of a community."
"Not only is this event fun and interactive, but it also benefits a community program that we have such a strong history of involvement with," observed Marian Tabard, marketing director at Coral Gables, Fla.-based Turbana, which, she added, "has worked with Learning Through Gardening in the past to create an international garden exchange program between schools in New Jersey and Colombia, so it seems natural for us to tie a New Jersey grilling event to this organization and show the community what amazing things Learning Through Gardening is doing for their children."
Aided by the hashtag #GrillinGoodness, a team including mommy bloggers and grill masters held a June 18 Twitter party with the aim of spurring consumers to use plantains in their Fourth of July grilling recipes. Additionally, local South Jersey bloggers and media were invited to take part in the in-store grilling events to garner community support.
Further, shoppers at all ShopRites who purchase Turbana plantains using a Price Plus Club card through Aug. 31 will be automatically entered to win a Weber Spirit E-310 LP gas grill, while a portion of each plantain purchase will benefit LTG.
ShopRite is the registered trademark of Wakefern Food Corp., a Keasbey, N.J.-based retailer-owned cooperative with more than 250 ShopRite supermarkets throughout New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware and Maryland.