Straight from the roots of a family grocery that became the 70+ store company known as Wegmans comes...a prototype in vertically-integrated, organic produce growth and distribution. Could this be the next trend for green grocers? Hope so.
Pay attention now Wal-Mart. The axis of the Earth doesn't protrude through the main street of Bentonville. If you're looking for a second precedent, Thomas Jefferson had this figured out a long time ago.
"Danny Wegman, [pictured] chief executive officer of Wegmans Food Markets Inc., sends his buyers around the world in search of products to sell in his upscale grocery chain. To Thailand for shrimp. To France and Italy for cheeses. To South America for winter fruit. But this summer, he and his wife, Stency, [pictured] are supplying Wegmans' Canandaigua store with fresh, organically cultivated produce that is grown less than 10 miles away, near the couple's Canandaigua Lake home."
"Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to its liberty and interests by the most lasting bonds. As long, therefore, as they can find employment in this line, I would not convert them into mariners, artisans, or anything else." --Thomas Jefferson to John Jay, 1785. ME 5:94, Papers 8:426
"Those who labor in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever He had a chosen people, whose breasts He has made his peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue. It is the focus in which he keeps alive that sacred fire which otherwise might escape from the face of the earth. Corruption of morals in the mass of cultivators is a phenomenon of which no age nor nation has furnished an example." --Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia Q.XIX, 1782. ME 2:229
"The Wegmans Organic Research Farm, which sits on nearly 50 bucolic acres owned by the family along West Lake Road in Canandaigua, is in its first year of production. The farm's mission, according to Wegman, is to provide locally grown fruits, vegetables and honey to nearby Wegmans stores and, eventually, to serve as an educational model for local growers, employees and consumers who want to learn about organic food production..."
"Wegman credits his older daughter, Colleen, [pictured] now president of the 70-store company, for turning him on to natural and organic foods. When Colleen Wegman graduated from the University of Colorado, her father encouraged her to take a few months off to ski. Instead, she worked six days a week in a natural foods store and later persuaded the company to launch its Nature's Marketplace departments...During the growing season, Wegmans contracts with 800 growers in the five states in which it has stores."