Wegmans Learns By Doing, Down on the Farm
Wegmans’ Jim Heberle is excited. "We aimed for ripe
tomatoes before Memorial Day, and we made it," he told Syracuse’s Post-Standard newspaper.
we Mr. Heberle referred to are all of the people working on Wegmans’
Organic Research Farm in Canandaigua, N.Y. The why behind his excitement?
one of our goals is to find ways to extend the growing season in the Northeast."
to The Post-Standard report, Wegmans was able to move up the
date for picking its tomatoes because of changes it made to the compost it
uses and by placing a hoop house over the soil to protect plants from the
cold. The discovery is a positive for the grocer, along with its consumers
who will be able to enjoy the locally-grown produce earlier than usual. Other
farmers who supply the chain will also benefit.
"We set aside time each year to meet with local growers, have them tour
our farm, and exchange information about what we’ve all learned during
the most recent growing season," said Jamie Robinson, a team leader along
with Mr. Heberle at the farm. "It’s a two-way street that helps
The Wegmans’ farm grows 14 varieties of cherry and grape
tomatoes, which are sold in the chain’s stores in Pittsford and Canandaigua,
NY as well as its Next Door Bar and Grill restaurant.
Discussion Questions: What are your thoughts on Wegmans’ approach to running
its Organic Research Farm? Do you see more food retailers getting into farming?