Make Your Produce Holiday Season a Success

Traditionally a time of community events and gathering together to celebrate the bounty of the season’s agricultural harvest, the Thanksgiving holiday is a great opportunity for food co-ops to stand out and highlight what they have to offer! Here are a few seasonal suggestions to help make your produce holiday season a success. Planning. Having the right amount of all the seasonal staples in [...]

Distinguishing Characteristics: Utilizing the Power of Produce to Stand Out from the Crowd

By James Morrell 190 May-June 2017 Keeping it fresh: a vibrant and fresh produce department is a key part of most natural food cooperatives, and a positive produce experience is the primary reason given by shoppers for their choice of a specific store or location. A healthy produce department offers a great foundation for overall store success and is an effective way for a store [...]

Sticker Shock and Accurate Rings

By Mark Mulcahy 133 November - December - 2007 I was standing in a produce department the other day stickering what seemed like thousands of tomatoes with little green stickers. A customer walked up and said, “Why do you do that? I hate stickers on my produce, they are a pain to get off, and I hate the thought of eating them by accident [...]

Cultivating Local

By Mark Mulcahy 125 July - August - 2006 I recently experienced a series of events that got me thinking about where we are and where we are going in our organic produce departments. It seems that the times they are a-changing yet again. First I read that Wal-Mart, with approximately 3,800 stores in the U.S., plans to double its organic items, with the [...]

Strengthening Fresh Produce Departments

Fresh produce is a big marketing draw for many food co-ops, yet there is a dearth of established training programs for improving performance. The Central Corridor recognized the need to better support produce department management and has engaged CDS to work with produce managers to focus on closing the margin gap for these departments. A gap assessment for all departments of Central Corridor co-ops [...]

GMOs: We Can’t Ignore the Consequences

By Mark Mulcahy 111 March - April - 2004 Have you ever seen one of those silent movies where the hero is on a runaway train and just narrowly misses injury by dumb luck or blissful ignorance of the severity of the situation? We may be in a similar situation today with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The difference is that this is real life [...]

The Farmer in the Deli

By Mark Mulcahy 105 March - April - 2003 Janet Zeller of the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op and I recently led a workshop at the Ecological Farming Conference in California. During the session she described many of the wonderful consumer educational programs the co-op has put together over the past few years. Examples of programs included a Friday night video event to show speaker [...]

Sampling Equals Sales and Satisfaction

By Mark Mulcahy 103 November - December - 2002 Do you sample in your produce department? Not just occasionally, when a customer asks or when you think of it, but on a regular basis? Why not? Too busy? Too busy to increase your sales? Produce manager Kevin Bollman from the East End Food Co-op in Pittsburgh, PA, says he doubled orange sales when he [...]

Produce Section Time Management

By Mark Mulcahy 085 November - December - 1999 Reviewing how you spend your day can reveal some simple ways to regain lost minutes or hours. I'd like to touch on a few areas of difficulty I run into most often in produce departments, with the aim of helping readers recognize and eliminate obstacles to running a productive and efficient department. Some of these [...]