Walking through one of the six Tom’s Food Markets locations in Northwest Michigan, you will find the produce section is piled high with best of the season. During the harvest season, displays are piled high with sweet corn, pints of sweet cherries, bushels of Bardenhagen Farms apples, and local squashes. However, Tom’s Food Markets is proudly dedicated to supporting local producers all year long, not just during the peak of summer.
“Ever since we first opened in 1946, Tom’s has been a solid advocate of supporting our local economy here in the greater Grand Traverse area,” says Christy Kuhnke, President of Tom’s Food Markets. “We have always purchased from our local farmers and producers.”
Within any of the Tom’s stores, you will see over 1,000 Michigan products scattered throughout the store. Past the produce department, there is canned pumpkin from Omena Organics, frozen mirepoix from Michigan Farm to Freezer, and delightful spreads from Natural Northern Foods to go with the Great Lakes Potato Chips. Plus, the wine and beer section is full of Michigan favorites like Chateau Grand Traverse, M. Lawrence, St. Ambrose Cellars, and Right Brain Brewery. Michigan products are clearly highlighted and celebrated throughout the store.
“Our customers love supporting local, so we try to offer them as many options as possible,” says Jeff DeRushia, Director of Operations for the Markets. “Together Tom’s, its hardworking vendors and loyal customers all work to support our growing community of producers and growers.”
How does Tom’s Food Markets source all of these made-in-Michigan products? In his 22 years with Tom’s, Mike Esch, Produce Merchandiser, has forged relationships with dozens of local farmers to contribute over 100 local products to the stores. For example, Sleeping Bear Farms, Louie’s Meats, and Higher Grounds Trading Co. Coffee distribute their items directly to the Markets. In addition to direct partnerships, Tom’s boasts strong relationships with Cherry Capital Foods and Greathouse Foods, two Michigan food distributors. These distributors make sourcing local products easy for Tom’s to carry out their commitment to supporting Michigan’s local economy.
“Tom’s Food Markets remains a strong member and corporate sponsor of Taste The Local Difference. And, as they have proclaimed; ‘If northwest Michigan households spent just $10 per week on local farm foods, our regional economy would gain nearly $5 million in new revenue each year.,’” says Kuhnke. “This is exciting and we’re on board!”
Undisputedly, you can feel good about supporting your local Tom’s Food Market that promotes Michigan’s many local food businesses. Head to your nearby store to get the best products that our state has to offer.
Emma Beauchamp is the Communications Manager for Taste the Local Difference. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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