BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Dec. 14, 2006 – Wal-Mart Stores announced today that Virginia-based Turkey Knob Growers will be showcased during the months of December and January in conjunction with the company’s Salute to America’s Farmers program. Salute to America’s Farmers, launched in September, 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, Turkey Knob Growers 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 Virginia agriculture and growers around the country.
“Wal-Mart buys more United States agricultural products than any other retailer in the world and we’re 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 Virginia. 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.”
Turkey Knob apples are grown on more than 4,000 acres of orchards in Virginias mineral-enriched limestone soil – the largest volume of apples grown in Virginia. The apples come from multiple growers and are packed in Timberville, Va. Turkey Knob Growers have supplied apples to Wal-Mart for the past 10 years. Each year the company supplies Wal-Mart with a variety of approximately 4 million pounds of apples, including Ginger Gold, Virginia Gold, Gala, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Empire, Rome and Fuji.
“Wal-Mart recognizes the value of locally grown produce and providing it to their customers,” said Jaime Williams, president and CEO of Turkey Knob Growers. “We’re thrilled that through our relationship with them, we’ve been able to bring more apples to homes throughout Virginia and surrounding areas.”
Wal-Mart launched the Salute to America’s Farmer program in September and each month will showcase one local grower from each of four states. 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 Virginia, Wal-Mart suppliers Rice Fruit Company in Pennsylvania, Triple T Farm & Greenhouse, LLC in Kentucky and Arrowhead Farms in Alabama are being saluted in their respective regions during the upcoming weeks.
“Turkey Knob Growers is an important supplier to the agricultural industry in the state of Virginia,” said Mike Droney, Agricultural Industry Marketing Representative for the Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Affairs. “We take great pride in our local farmers and appreciate Wal-Mart’s continued support and commitment toward the growers and producers in our state.”
Wal-Mart’s relationships with U.S. suppliers extend beyond its support of local agriculture. In 2005, Wal-Mart spent $200 billion on merchandise through its relationship with 61,000 U.S. suppliers. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc spent $1,859,436,675 for merchandise and services with 1,286 suppliers in the state of Virginia in FYE 2006. As a result of these supplier relationships, Wal-Mart supports 72,148 supplier jobs in Virginia.
As of October 2006, Wal-Mart’s presence in Virginia includes 65 Supercenters, 19 Discount Stores and 13 SAM’S Clubs. It also has four Distribution Centers for a total of 38,168 associates.
About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Every week, more than 127 million customers visit Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Club locations across America. The company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of 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 $245 million to local United States communities. To learn more, visit www.walmartfacts.com, www.walmart.com, or www.walmartfoundation.org.
*supplier figures provided by Dun & Bradstreet