The produce department is a unique shopping destination. It’s a retail setting where brand name & label recognition doesn’t really exist beyond a very small handful of growers/suppliers. Think about it… your shopping list for this department likely says: grapes, bananas, apples, salad, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc. You really do not care if the department has Dole or Chiquita bananas – you simply want bananas with a pretty yellow color & a fair price. And when you walk over to the vegetable area- you have no clue that brand names even exist amongst cucumbers. And, no, Gala is not the brand of your apple – that’s the variety.
One of my missions as The Produce Mom is to help increase the brand awareness in my favorite section of the grocery store. The Produce Department is no different than your Shoe or Clothing Department. You are probably a faithful consumer of New Balance or Nike or Brooks sneakers. And I know you have a favorite brand of jeans, as well! But do you have a favorite brand of apples? Why NOT?!
I love all produce…. let’s get that straight right now! You should love all produce, too. It’s all good for you & it’s always an excellent choice for your family.
Working at Indianapolis Fruit Company, I’m exposed to nothing but trusted brands/labels from our produce industry vendors. Since we’ve been talking about Sage Fruit’s co-branded Biggest Loser Apples, I thought I would use this opportunity to explain why Sage Fruit is a label that I trust & recommend for your household.
Sage’s mission is to deliver the highest quality fruit and foster long-term relationships with customers, employees and growers. Their website boasts company values of Integrity, Teamwork, Innovation, Passion, Respect and Pride… those are some of the same characteristics that I seek out in my friendships & work partnerships! So I’m not surprised that I love doing business with Sage Fruit & I love bringing their products into my home! Prior to working in this industry, I had never heard of Sage Fruit. I’m sure I was exposed to it – I’ve always been a consumer of produce – but I couldn’t tell you what brand of apples I was buying. Now I pay attention to that kind of thing. And as the push for “field to fork” awareness continues, I’m sure you have started to play closer attention to the labels & brands that you are bringing into your home kitchen as well.
Sage Fruit is based in Yakima, Washington – a notorious growing region for Apples, Pears & Cherries. They utilize some of the top technology to make sure the fruit is sized appropriately & firm…. that’s key for someone like me who lives in the Midwest & loves a crisp Washington Apple. That apple has to be firm at picking & packed in the appropriate size tray if it’s going to eat well & taste fresh at my home, thousands of miles away from the field. Furthermore, Sage Fruit Company has a comprehensive food safety plan in place at each of its packing facilities. This is a biggie for me & I hope it is a biggie for you, as well. Food Safety is no joke & should be the highest priority of every outlet in the supply chain. Each Sage facility undergoes extensive audits by third party companies to ensure compliance to their plan/applicable regulations – which means an outsider comes in & evaluates how Sage Fruit is doing and if they are meeting the food safety benchmarks they have established for themselves. Furthermore, Sage Fruit is Safe Quality Food (SQF) Certified… which means they also meet the food safety benchmarks of Safe Quality Food, which is administered by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI). I know how rigorous it is to achieve the SQF certification as we recently went through the process at Indianapolis Fruit. The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) was founded in 2000 with the mission to create an international food safety standard. There is a very small number of certifications available to those of us in the food supply chain that fall under the umbrella of GFSI certifications: SQF is one of these certifications.
So when you see the Sage Label you can take pride in knowing that you are getting some of the best Apples, Pears & Cherries grown in the Northwest United States. Sage is dedicated to Food Safety & Quality Assurance. I smile when I see their label.
You have your favorite brand of mascara, shoes, toothpaste & more… Now, go find your favorite brands in the produce department! And use me as a resource if you have any questions along the way.
xoxo Produce Mom