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Walmart Produce Has Got To Be NC!

All North Carolina stores will feature local produce throughout the summer with local farmers, free samples, and in-store events 

RALEIGH, NC, July 10, 2008 – Local farmers will bring their fruits and vegetables to market this summer at their local Walmart stores across the state. Beginning Friday, July 11th the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will also host 16 events at Walmart stores in various counties celebrating the bounty of products this state has to offer.

“North Carolina farmers grow some of the finest produce you’ll ever taste,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “We’ve been taking that message to consumers through our Got to Be NC Agriculture campaign, raising awareness of the many great foods grown and produced in our state.”

Last week Walmart announced its commitment to source more local fruits and vegetables to keep produce prices down and provide affordable selections that are fresh and healthful. The retailer also reported that partnerships with local farmers have grown by 50 percent over the past two years – one example of the company’s efforts to support local economies, cut shipping costs and provide fresh food offerings.

Today, hundreds of growers across the United States provide produce sold in Walmart Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets, making Walmart the nation’s largest purchaser of local produce. During summer months, locally sourced fruits and vegetables that are both grown and available for purchase within a state’s borders make up a fifth of the produce available in Walmart stores.

“We have been working with Walmart since 1996 and Walmart was promoting local grown produce prior to it being’ the fashionable thing to do,’” says Autryville farmer Brent Jackson. “Our farm is centrally located between three of their major distribution centers and we have been delivering fresh NC watermelons, cantaloupes, strawberries and specialty melons to these DC’s since they have been in existence,” Jackson adds.

Jackson gives an example of Walmart’s innovative spirit, he notes how Walmart has always had forward thinking associates who have believed in supporting the local farmers by buying locally and trying new items. One example is the exclusive “NC Sprite Melon,” Walmart was one of the first companies to take the ‘Sprite melon’ and distribute it both within the state and also on a regional level. “Walmart was the first company to take locally grown NC specialty melons (Galia, Magenta, and Piel De Sapo) and promote them within their NC stores, and neighboring states. There is no doubt that Walmart is the main reason the ’Eastern Athena cantaloupe’ has enjoyed such success within NC and other southeastern states,” says Jackson. “I am living proof that Walmart has been and continues to be totally committed to supporting NC Grown Products.”

Walmart estimates that it purchases more than 70 percent of its produce from U.S.-based suppliers, making the company the biggest customer of American agriculture. This year, Walmart expects to source about $400 million in locally grown produce from farmers across the United States.

“Offering local produce has been a Walmart priority for years, and we’re taking it to a new level with a pledge to grow our partnerships with local farmers. We’re committed to purchasing locally grown produce whenever possible,” said Pam Kohn, Walmart’s senior vice president and general merchandise manager for grocery. “Increasing the amount of local produce in our grocery aisles – and adding clear locally grown signage – reflects our dedication to offer the freshest products possible at great prices.”

Beyond the benefits to consumers and economic opportunities for farmers, Walmart’s commitment to locally grown produce is helping to reduce “food miles” – the distance food travels from farm to fork. It is estimated that in the United States, produce travels an average of 1,500 miles from farms to the homes of consumers. Through better logistics planning, better packing of trucks and local sourcing, Walmart expects to save millions of food miles each year.

The following “locally grown events” will take place at North Carolina Walmart Supercenters in July and August:

Date Store Address / Phone Event
July 11 Walmart #1662 Statesville, NC
Tel: (704) 871-9833
5pm-7pm, Sample
7pm-9pm, Concert
July 14 Walmart #5346 Mebane, NC
Tel: (919) 304-0171
5pm-7pm, Sample
July 15 Walmart #1287 Burlington, NC
Tel: (336) 584-6400
5pm-7pm, Sample
July 16 Walmart #1372 Garner, NC
Tel: (919) 772-8751
11am-1pm, Grand Opening & Sample
July 18 Walmart #1064 Lenoir, NC
Tel: (828) 754-0763
5pm-7pm, Sample
July 19 Walmart #1242 Hendersonville
Tel: (828) 696-8285
11am-1pm, Sample
July 22 Walmart #2472 Winston-Salem
Tel: (336) 760-9868
5pm-7pm, Sample
July 23 Walmart #5063 Charlotte, NC
Tel: (704) 844-1066
5pm-7pm, Sample
July 24 Walmart #3700 Indian Trail, NC
Tel: (704) 882-5566
4pm-6pm, Sample
July 25 Walmart #1027 Concord, NC
Tel: (704) 788-3135
4pm-6pm, Sample
July 28 Walmart #1268 Whiteville, NC
Tel: (910) 640-1393
5pm-7pm, Sample
July 29 Walmart #1392 Wilmington, NC
Tel: (910) 392-4034
4pm-6pm, Sample
July 31 Walmart #3595 Fayetteville, NC
Tel: (910) 864-6575
4pm-6pm, Sample
August 1 Walmart #4564 Goldsboro, NC
Tel: (919) 736-7332
4pm-6pm, Sample
August 5 Walmart #1527 Elizabeth, NC
Tel: (252) 338-3367
11am-1pm, Sample
August 8 Walmart #1379 Greenville, NC
Tel: (252) 355-2441
5pm-7pm, Sample
7pm-9pm, Concert

 

A complete list of locally grown produce available by state is at www.livebetterindex.com.

The company is also dedicating space on its web site to locally grown produce, including farmer profiles and recipes. For more information, visit www.walmart.com/locallygrown.

About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)

Walmart operates Walmart discount stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Sam’s Club locations in the United States. The company operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom. Walmart serves more than 176 million customers weekly in 14 markets. The company’s securities are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WMT. For more information: www.walmartfacts.com.

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