Receiving and Storing Your Products

chardMost of us in produce feel like we know how to receive and store our product – get it off the truck and into the cooler. And, although that statement does sum up the basics involved, there are a few strategies that when used can save both time and money, as well as give you longer shelf life on your product and remain in compliance with USDA Organic Standards.

Every produce department should have a pulp thermometer that allows you to actually read the temperature of the product that arrives to your dock. With this instrument you will immediately know if there were temperature issues with your product while being transported to your operation. Read the rest of this entry »

How Compelling is Your Produce Department?

peppersIt seems fair to claim that when most of us are shopping, the analytical portion of our brain is in a fairly relaxed state, and for good reason. It needs a break. How often do you enter a retail store and decide “I’m going to study the underpinnings of this shopping experience and discover the nuances of this store’s marketing strategy?” Without going out too far on a limb, I would guess the answer for most of us to be NEVER! We simply take our shopping excursions at face value – what we see is what it is. Knowing this as consumers should make us wiser when we present our own marketing/merchandising strategy to the public. Is your strategy subtle, confusing, or maybe not even apparent; or is it attractive, obvious and compelling? The answer you give to this question is critical for the success of your department. How compelling is your department? When people first enter into the produce section are they so blown away by your product, merchandising, and marketing efforts that they cannot help but to begin shopping, or does your department simply remind your customers of every other place they shop and you are simply convenient for them today? The key to success in retailing is to avoid ordinary! Read the rest of this entry »

Thanksgiving – More Than Just Giving Thanks

thanksgivingimageThursday is the big day, and the food will certainly be flowing. Most of us working in the organic and natural foods industry will see one of our best weeks of sales from this week. We are clearly reminded of the bounty of food that exists in our country. Yes, we are truly fortunate. But sadly, that “we” does not include everyone. Many Americans will not be experiencing the bounty of a Thanksgiving feast. In fact, some Americans will have nothing at all to eat on Thanksgiving Day. Imagine having no food to eat on Thanksgiving. Pretty difficult to imagine, isn’t it? Now, imagine that many of those who will go hungry on that day are children. It’s almost as if your mind doesn’t want to go there. And yet, that is our reality. Read the rest of this entry »

Great Customer Service

customerserviceServicing your customers is ALWAYS the most important thing you will do on any given day. Without customers we have no business. No customer should ever walk into your produce area and find an empty department where there is no sales staff on the floor. If you have periods in the day (even very short ones) where there is no produce staff on the floor, it is nearly impossible to expect that you will maximize the potential of your department. The organic customer tends to be especially well-educated and hungry for information. Read the rest of this entry »

Selling Autumn Produce

autumnproduceAs we move further into the fall months, most produce departments around the country breathe a sigh of relief. The maintenance of the summer soft fruits, melons and ready-to-eat tomatoes are no longer overwhelming the labor budget as such items as winter squash and apples take center stage. Although your department certainly deserves a rest from the intensity of summer product care, it’s important to not have too much of a letdown. There is a tendency to have so much confidence in the popularity of items such as apples, that we turn them loose on their own and don’t always give them the marketing/merchandising support that can truly allow these items to flourish during the Autumn season. Here are a few recommendations for moving forward with your hot Autumn produce items: Read the rest of this entry »

Thanksgiving Retail Tools

cornucopiaThe weeks leading into Thanksgiving are about as crazy as it gets in the world of retailing food. The week leading into the big stretch should see a pretty significant uptick in both traffic and sales at your store. To assist you with the upcoming onslaught, we have a few Thanksgiving merchandising tools that we offer each year that are typically very well received and used with excellent success.

There are 3 tools that we offer that you can download; print out; and have ready for this weekend in your store: Read the rest of this entry »

Thanksgiving Favorites

cranberriesWe tend to think that most shoppers know exactly what they want for their Thanksgiving feast, and that simply having the available product is what’s most critical. While having the available product is certainly important, don’t underestimate the impact that you can have with your customers as they prepare for this major food event. Sure, some of your customers will come in knowing exactly what they want and they have been preparing the same meal for years. But, many people are much more wide open to suggestions and uncertain of what they are doing than you might suspect. For these shoppers, the best we can do is to be prepared and have an understanding not only of the product we are selling, but how it can be used in the holiday meal. Read the rest of this entry »

Cinco de Mayo – A Very Important Day

Today is Cinco de Mayo. In the world of produce, it is one of the biggest days for avocado sales, sometimes even exceeding sales during Super Bowl week. What I find interesting about this holiday is how few people actually know or understand what this holiday is really about. I don’t want to bore you with too much history (and it’s quite complex for that matter), but if we are going to celebrate a holiday, well… we should know what we’re celebrating! And, if you have already guessed Mexican Independence Day (as many do) you are incorrect. Read the rest of this entry »

Happy Earth Day: Let’s Play Dirty

soilHappy Earth Day! We’ve come a long way since Earth Day began in 1970, but we still have quite the road to travel. Today the world will be focused on reducing carbon emissions. In the U.S. our primary strategy over the next 20 years is to reduce carbon emissions from our power plants. This is a great step, and going even further by reducing carbon emissions from our cars and other transportation vehicles will also go a long way toward reducing our carbon footprint. Read the rest of this entry »

The Heart of the Matter

climateChangeImageEvery movement that has ever been successful in it’s aim, relies on three very fundamental, and very dynamic aspects of being – wisdom, passion, and love. These are the ingredients that create an effective revolution, if you will. And yes, even a revolution must have the balance of love. Case in point, look at the leadership of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King. There were many who felt the pain, the hate, and the frustration of a segregated America, and how we relegated the African American Community to a second-class status. But it was under the leadership of Dr. King that true freedom was able to come to Black America. He clearly possessed the wisdom and the passion, but the real key to success, was the love. He didn’t approach the Civil Rights fight with anger, with malice, or with hate. He had love in his heart, and that balance is what ultimately broke through. Read the rest of this entry »