Often when we go to the store we don’t worry about where our fruits and vegetables are coming from. Unless you are buying your produce from the farmer directly or your grew them yourself, you may not know how far they’ve traveled to get to your plate.
I am the type of person that likes too know where my food comes from. Earlier this summer I was able to visit a dairy farm and learn how the milk I use daily actually gets from the cow to my fridge. Just last week I was invited back to a farm. As a city girl, I’ll never turn down the opportunity to learn more about what goes on on a farm or where the food comes from.
Much like the dairy farm tour, this tour was only an hour north of where we live in Detroit. I met a group of Walmart Executives at a hotel downtown Detroit with another blogger, and we headed north. Our destination – Mike Pirrone Produce farm in Capac, Michigan.
Mike Pirrone Produce farm is a medium sized farm that covers around 1400 acres of land in Michigan’s thumb area. They focus on growing local produce throughout the seasons and work with smaller farms to utilize their packing area. Their produce ranges from peppers, squash, gourds, cucumbers, eggplants and several more.
We had the opportunity to tour their fields, see the packing plants and their wonderful teams. To see how the produce actually is cleaned, sorted and packed to go to the local stores. Produce that is not considered perfect is not just discarded, instead it is donated to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan to be used and help the needy.
But what happens once they’re cleaned and sorted? The produce is packed into individual packaging (if applicable), or re-useable black crates to make their way to their local Walmart store.
Our tour then went to a local Walmart store in Clinton Township – only a thirty minute drive from the farm. Right when you walk in the store you see the fresh produce sitting there. So fresh since it was probably delivered the day before or earlier that day. On the base of all of the produce containers was a label saying that the produce was locally grown. But beyond that a picture of the farmers from Mike Pirrone Produce! It was great to see the faces of the farmers we had met earlier that day – and the selection of the healthy produce they had grown.
The next time you’re shopping at your local Walmart check the base of your produce containers – you may just find your produce didn’t come from very far away. Not only does this help the local farmers in your area, but helps keep the prices lower since the food doesn’t have to travel very far to make it to the store. Besides the healthy produce options we saw from Mike Pirrone Produce farm at the store, they will be supplying the local Walmarts with their beautiful pumpkins and ornamental gourds for the upcoming holidays.