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Fresh St. Market goes hyper-local with new farm partnerships

B.C. farmers impacted by the pandemic will bring their bounty directly to stores

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Fresh St. Market is growing its relationships with local farms that lost business because of the COVID-19 crisis.

The new “Farm to Fresh St. Market” initiative will see 20 B.C. farms bring produce from their crops to five Fresh St. Market locations. The program will run every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. until September.

With restaurants forced to shutter during the pandemic, farms that supplied them are impacted as well. “Farmers started to have an abundance of crops and they were worried about what they were going to do with them,” says Mark McCurdy, vice-president of retail operations & brand strategy at Georgia Main Food Group, the food division of H.Y. Louie that owns Fresh St. Market..

On top of that, farmers’ markets have limitations on the number of vendors and customers because of COVID-19 restrictions, putting another dent in business. “Now, they have less opportunity to sell product and not only risk losing the crops, but finances as well,” says McCurdy.

While Fresh St. Market already has a robust local food program, McCurdy says the new program takes a slightly different approach. “We continue to do our local purchasing, but now we’re going to take a look at specific farms that need help and bring in some fresh product that gets delivered to our stores every weekend.”

READ: Fresh St. Market opens new store in Vancouver

In stores, a special section will be designated for Farm to Fresh St. Market. It currently features strawberries from Abbotsford’s Berry Haven Farm, baby eggplants from Delta’s Windset Farms, and new baby potatoes from Heppell’s Farm in Surrey. As the summertime harvest continues, Fresh St. Market customers will start seeing items such as coronation grapes, snap peas, kale, hot peppers, yellow watermelons and BC Bartlett apples.

Farm to Fresh St. Market is being promoted through in-store advertising, social media, website, local radio spots and public relations.

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