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Weis Markets, one of the largest purchasers of Pennsylvania agricultural products, recently held a dinner honoring Pennsylvania farmers and local produce distributors that supply its 164 stores with local produce.
“Today, buying local is the hot trend in the food business. But here at Weis Markets, it’s been a hot trend for 98 years,” said David Hepfinger, Weis Markets president and CEO. “Our local produce suppliers have been the foundation of our buy local programs. Over the years, we steadily expanded our programs and now participate in the PA Preferred program which helps promote locally grown produce and products that are made or processed here in Pennsylvania.”
At the dinner, Mr. Hepfinger spoke of the company’s other buy local initiatives including its dairy program. More than 95 percent of the milk processed at the company’s dairy plant in Sunbury is supplied by Pennsylvania dairy farmers.
In 2009, Weis Markets sold more than 24 million pounds of local produce, most of which comes from Pennsylvania farms and more than a million pounds of its PA Proud Choice Angus beef; the grocer now offers PA Proud poultry and turkey programs. All three programs are supplied by Pennsylvania farmers.
Weis Markets purchases 19 varieties of seasonal produce from more than 100 Pennsylvania farmers and distributors, including sweet corn, apples, pumpkins, cantaloupes, potatoes, pears, peaches, peppers, tomatoes, cauliflower and green beans.
“We’re proud of our local heritage and the relationships we’ve developed with our growers and suppliers,” said Mickey Stringham, Weis Markets’ director of produce. “Quite simply, we live here, we work here and most importantly for the people in this room, we buy here – and we’ve been doing it since 1912.”
Weis Markets, which marked its 98th year of operation in May, operates 164 stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, New Jersey and West Virginia.