retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Had a story last week about how Stew Leonard’s is thinking of starting up a farm on some Connecticut land where some local activists have prevented a store from being built, and we noted that other retailers, such as Wegmans, also operate farms as a way of being closer to the source of food.

Which led MNB user Elizabeth Archerd to write:

Wedge Co-op in Minneapolis has been operating 72 acres of a local organic farm, Gardens of Eagan, this past summer. We signed the lease over a year ago and will close on the sale soon. Gardens of Eagan is one of the premier organic vegetable growers in the Upper Midwest. They started selling to our co-op in the early 1970s and that was the beginning of a beautiful 30+ year relationship.

The farm supplies Twin City co-ops and private stores, as well as shipping around the region via Co-op Partners Warehouse, a five-state wholesale perishables warehouse that the Wedge operates. Over the next several years, we will be operating the farm as an LLC and building an education program, The Organic Field School, to teach future growers and others interested in sustainable agriculture.

MNB user Kevin Isom wrote:

The new trend may be to get closer and even own the source of products in the stores but the direction in the past years has been the other direction. In-house sausage making went upstream for the purpose of continuity of quality and product in regional chains as well as the risk avoidance situation of food borne illness liability. There are many examples of this in the bakery and deli sections along with many preprocessed and prepackaged products in the meat and produce departments that were done previously in the store.

The organic products do have a feel that if marketed right could counter the current trend in the other sections of the store. Hen House in Kansas City does a great job of promoting local and regional growers in their produce department. It will be interesting to see how much of a market is available to this kind of product sourcing.

Got the following from an MNB user:

I couldn't agree more with your views on endless scientific findings on food consumption. I've been saying the same thing for years and am happy you brought this point up. Bottom line, anything in excess is never really good for anybody. For every good decision, there will come a bad decision or two and vice versa. In the interest of full disclosure, there is a Five Guys Burgers & Fries opening up right down my street. Let's just say there is a bad decision or two in my future. It sure beats the alternative of McD's or BK, don't you think?


Sometimes bad decisions can be good for you. Or, as the great poet and troubadour sings:

The rumors and the stories of my past I can’t deny
I’m no Saint Ignatius but again I’m no barfly
The wrong thing is the right thing until you lose control
I’ve got this bank of bad habits in a corner of my soul…

KC's View: