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Praising family-owned and independent farms throughout southern New England for the key role they play in supplying its stores with hand-picked fruits and vegetables, Springfield, Mass.-based Big Y said it purchased more than $15 million worth of "native" fresh produce this year.
The amount represents an increase of nearly $1 million, or 6.3 percent, in native produce purchases from the prior year, along with more than 10 new farms added to its local supplier network, which now totals up to 60 local farmers. Big Y’s $15 million represents more than 10 million pounds of locally grown fruits and vegetables within its marketing area.
In addition to the vast purchases of native produce, Big Y also supports local agriculture with locally procured flowering plants, shrubs, flowers and herbs during the growing season, the overall quantity for which increased almost 10 percent, or nearly $1.4 million during the past year.
"Being a locally owned and operated company, we take pride in offering our customers the best of the region and our customers appreciate our extra effort," noted Big Y CEO Charles L. D’Amour. "We also take pride in supporting our communities and our friends and neighbors. By working together, we all have a part in strengthening the economic fabric of our region. There is not a supermarket chain in this area that can match our ability to work with local partners in order to showcase the fruits of their labor."
Big Y’s tradition of supporting local growers started at the inception of the company almost 80 years ago. The regional retailer features details on its website of 150 of its farmer partners, including an interactive map, which enables visitors to click on a specific region and learn more about it.
In addition to local fruits and vegetables, Big Y makes significant local purchases of fresh locally produced cheeses and other dairy products ($1 million), breads and pastries ($8 million), seafood, lobsters and locally raised meat and poultry ($7 million), ice cream ($500,000), beer and wine ($1 million), and pet food ($30,000).
Big Y’s grocery aisles are packed with some $17 million of other local products, including sauces, spices, jams, honey, maple syrup, peanut butter, chips, coffee, granola and more.
With 63 stores throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts, Big Y is one of the largest independently owned supermarket chains in New England.