BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Sept. 27, 2006 – Wal-Mart Stores announced today that New York-based Orchard Dale Fruit Farms & Brown’s Berry Patch will be showcased during the months of September and October in conjunction with the company’s Salute to America’s Farmers program. Salute to America’s Farmers, launched this month, is a year-long campaign to spotlight Wal-Mart’s commitment to purchase from local growers for distribution to stores in their areas in support of locally grown agricultural products. Throughout the next several weeks, Orchard Dale Fruit Farm & Brown’s Berry Patch will team with Wal-Mart Stores to provide home-grown apples to numerous Wal-Mart Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets in the region and provide visibility to the company’s commitment to New York agriculture and growers around the country.
“As the largest buyer of United States agricultural products in the world, Wal-Mart is proud to introduce Salute to America’s Farmers as a tribute to our country’s growers, underscoring our company-wide commitment to farmers across the United States,” said Bruce Peterson, Wal-Mart Stores senior vice president, perishable food division. “We understand that consumers want to purchase quality products that help support the local economy and we’re proud of our ability to bring wholesome, home-grown selections to our customers in New York. This commitment not only allows us to offer fresh, quality selections but also generate savings on distribution costs that we can pass on to our customers.”
Eight generations of Browns have operated Orchard Dale Fruit Farm & Brown’s Berry Patch for more than 200 years with Robert (Bob) and Eric Brown currently managing the farm and Bob’s son Bobby recently joining the team. Located on the shores of Lake Ontario about halfway between Rochester and Niagara Falls, a wide variety of fresh fruits are grown for wholesale and retail markets, with 200 acres devoted solely to apples. The farm has been a tourist attraction for years, offering school tours, barnyard adventures and other fun seasonal activities. In 2004, it won the New York State Agri-tourism Award.
Together with ten area fruit growers, Bob and Eric are owners of Lake Ontario Fruit, Inc., one of the largest fresh market apple storage and packing facilities in the Eastern United States. As one of the managing owners, Bob Brown helped establish Lake Ontario Fruit, Inc., in 1982 and today features one of the most modern and technical facilities in the world, anticipated to handle nearly one million bushels of fresh market apples this year.
“Wal-Mart recognizes the value of locally grown produce and providing it to their customers,” said Bob Brown, owner of Orchard Dale Fruit Farm & Brown’s Berry Patch. “We’re thrilled that, through our relationship, we’ve been able to bring more apples from our farm and other New York growers to homes throughout the region.”
Wal-Mart launched the Salute to America’s Farmer program this month and will showcase a local grower each from four states monthly. Local farmers and growers in all 50 states will be spotlighted throughout the upcoming year. During each state’s showcased month, consumers can identify local produce via corresponding signage in local Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets. In addition to Orchard Dale Fruit Farm, Frey Farms in Illinois is being saluted during the upcoming weeks as a grower and provider of pumpkins to Wal-Mart customers in their region.
“New York has over 36,000 farms, and Brown’s Berry Patch is an outstanding example of the innovative, dedicated and productive farmers we have,” said New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick H. Brennan. “Brown’s take great pride in the products they produce, and we take great pride in the farmers that produce them. We appreciate Wal-Mart’s support of our Pride of New York program and more importantly, its support of our growers and producers in New York State.”
Wal-Mart’s relationships with U.S. suppliers extends beyond its support of local agriculture. In 2005, Wal-Mart spent $200 billion on merchandise through its relationship with 61,000 U.S. suppliers. In the state of New York in FYE 2006, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. spent $11,813,795,459 for merchandise and services with 2,603 suppliers. As a result of these supplier relationships, Wal-Mart supports 179,483 supplier jobs in the state of New York.*
As of August 2006, Wal-Mart’s presence in New York includes 40 Supercenters, 45 Discount Stores and 17 SAM’S CLUBS. It also has four Distribution Centers for a total of 34,523 associates.
About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Every week,, more than 176 million customers visit Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, SAM’S Clubs or a subsidiary location in 15 countries around the world. In each of the countries where Wal-Mart operates, the company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of operating globally and giving back locally. Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more than $270 million to these local communities. To learn more, visit www.walmartfacts.com, www.walmart.com or www.walmartfoundation.org.