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In its ongoing mission to search for and promote local products, New England regional grocer Big Y Foods Inc. now sells locally produced ice creams in all 61 of its World Class Markets.
Each store carries the brand of ice cream that's manufactured closest to its location. In Massachusetts locations, for instance, featured ice creams are Bart's and Snow's, from Greenfield; Maple Valley Creamery Ice Cream, from Hadley; and SoCo Creamery, from Great Barrington; while Connecticut markets stock The Farmers Cow ice cream, from Lebanon. Another regional favorite is Gifford's Ice Cream, from Maine.
Although considered "beyond local" because of their size and growth, well-known national brands Friendly's, from Wilbraham, Mass., and Baskin-Robbins, from Canton, Mass., are available at Big Y as well. The grocer was the first to sell Friendly's half-gallon containers in its stores, back in 1987; before that, the brand was sold exclusively in Friendly's restaurants. Big Y also offers 14 of Baskin-Robbins' more than 1,000 flavors across the chain.
"Each year, we are able to connect with more and more local producers and showcase their products in our stores," said Eric Swenson, center store VP at Springfield, Mass.-based Big Y. "Our customers now depend upon Big Y for their favorite local items. They appreciate the convenience of finding these items at their local Big Y, and the local producers are delighted with their sales from our stores."
Big Y has long supported local growers, purchasing nearly $5 million in native fruit and vegetable purchases annually, as well as an assortment of local flowering plants. Its other locally sourced offerings from Massachusetts include Trappist Jams (Spencer), Gold Medal baked goods (Fall River) and Tea Guys teas (Whately), while among its Connecticut-sourced items are Shadow Valley Farms milk (Somers), Deep River chips and snacks (Old Lyme), Aurora Foods snacks (Orange), and Nutmeg Spices (Tarryville).
Family-owned and -operated Big Y has stores throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts, with more than 10,000 employees.