GREENSBORO, NC – September 19, 2019 – What makes The Fresh Market’s produce selection standout from other retailers? In the newest episode of the specialty grocer’s “Meet the Curators” series, viewers learn that not all fruits and vegetables are created equal and what differentiates The Fresh Market in terms of quality based on higher specifications, freshness built on long-term, trusted grower relationships and taste through offering a wide assortment of unique and seasonal varieties.
Watch Meet the Curators: Produce
Higher Quality Specifications
While some retailers will switch suppliers based on who can offer them the lowest price, The Fresh Market bases their buying decisions largely on who can meet their product quality specifications. This means getting the best of the crop in terms of size and produce picked at the peak of ripeness for optimal sweetness.
“Rather than having fruit picked just before it is fully ripe and then shipped on a boat, we will pay the extra freight cost to have the fruit flown in, so it is in our stores in the shortest amount of time after harvest,” said Dennis Payne, Sr. Category Manager, Produce Retail. “An example is when we offered cherries from Tasmania, Australia in the winter, when you normally do not get to enjoy them fresh.”
For apple season, The Fresh Market only carries the top two grades of apples, extra fancy and premium. Savanello and Flynn show side-by-side comparisons of mandarin oranges, cherries, avocados and melons in terms of what guests would find at The Fresh Market versus other grocery stores.
As a specialty grocer, The Fresh Market’s mission is to help make everyday eating extraordinary. This translates in the produce section by offering the highest quality, best tasting varieties, but also unique and harder to find varieties whenever they are in season, including:
- Harry’s berries with double the sweetness of a typical strawberry
- Colorful produce such as purple Brussels Sprouts, orange and purple cauliflower, purple artichokes
- Cotton Candy grapes, along with several other varieties like Jam Grapes, Candy Heart, Sweet Sapphire and Red Muscato
- Jackfruit, yellow dragon fruit, and other tasty tropical fruits like passion fruit, lychees and rambutan
- Melons ranging from Honey Kiss and Sugar Kiss to Crenshaw and Canary
- Jumbo blueberries from Peru that are twice the size of regular ones. They are a new variety that is the result of a 20-year natural breeding project aimed at boosting the superfood's size but also the flavor and goodness.
On average, we offer three times the variety of produce as other grocers. For example, this September is peak apple season and The Fresh Market has over 15 varieties of apples from McIntosh and Gala apples to harder-to-find RubyFrost and SnapDragon apples that are exclusively grown in the state of New York. During the summer season, the stores carried 14 different varieties of melons alongside other exceptionally unique fruits like pink lemonade blueberries and strawberry cherries.
Long Term Grower Relationships
By cultivating long-term relationships with farmers and growers, The Fresh Market is able to ensure they receive the top of the crop. The produce team works with producers who can consistently provide the very best quality and consistent supply that meets the specification standards.
For example, The Fresh Market sources their avocados from Del Ray Avocado in California, and they are able to supply us with specialty varieties such as the Reed avocado which is known for their large size and smaller pit, as well as their creamy texture with a slightly smoky flavor.
The Fresh Market’s eastern apples are supplied by the Albinder family at Hudson River Fruit. They are a fourth-generation, family-owned farm that pack, store, sell and ship New York State grown apples. The specialty grocer relies on them to select the best lots from their harvest so that The Fresh Market’s highest level of specifications and grades are met.
“The best part about working in produce is that it is constantly changing with the season,” said Dennis. “I love finding new varieties that will get our guests excited to try something extraordinary that they could not find anywhere else.”