CALEDONIA — Above the greens and cabbages inside Pick ’n Save, 5111 Douglas Ave., there is a sign which reads “Sturtevant, Wisconsin.”
It features a photo of local farmer Mike Borzynski, of Borzynski Farms, and a small description of the farm that started with a tractor, a few rented acres and some high school friends.
It’s part of an initiative Roundy’s announced last week to bring in more locally grown produce and educate customers about the local produce already sold in stores, according to James
Hyland, a Roundy’s spokesman. The campaign features about 30 local farmers, as well as farmers being added through a new co-op partnership, but only Borzynski’s is in Racine County.
Borzynski Farms has been supplying Pick ’n Save with produce such as greens and cabbages for as many as 20 years, said Stefanie Meiri, a manager at Borzynski Farms, whose father started the farm with her uncle. But recently “locally grown” has become a popular buzzword, she said.
If you drive around Racine County you will notice there is a lot of locally grown produce, she said. It’s not just Borzynski’s; there are a lot of local farms that supply grocery stores.
But before the campaign, she said, “I’m not sure people realized it ... I’m glad people are recognizing there is local food right in their backyard.”
Not all Pick ’n Save stores had signs up as of Friday morning advertising the local farm produce. But the signs are scheduled to roll out into the stores soon and, with it, the signs advertising locally grown Borzynski Farms produce, according to Roundy’s.
The majority of Roundy’s 161 stores carry Borzynski’s produce, Hyland said, which means the signs will be in most of the stores.
Mike Borzynski, 32, of Racine, who is featured on the signs, said the photo certainly doesn’t make him a celebrity.
“I’m a local farmer. That is all I want to be,” said Borzynski, whose sister, Meiri, sent in the picture without his knowledge.
In addition to supplying produce to Roundy’s, Borzynski’s also sends vegetables to Wal-Mart, Piggly Wiggly, Supervalu, and its own Borzynski’s Farm and Floral Market, 11600 Washington Ave., Meiri said.
Their shipments include greens, cabbages, cilantro, green beans, green peppers, sweet corn and hard squash in the fall, Meiri said.
New Roundy’s partnership
Along with new produce signs, Roundy’s last week also announced a partnership with the Wisconsin Food Hub Cooperative, made up of about a dozen Wisconsin farms that help ensure food safety and help small farmers reach larger stores. Through this partnership, Roundy’s stores will be offering more Wisconsin grown produce from small farms, Hyland said.
The produce will be labeled, similar to the Borzynski signs, to let customers know the food is from the Wisconsin Food Hub. It will be in Racine-area stores, along with other stores through the region, Hyland said, although he couldn’t say exactly what produce each store would carry or how much it would cost.
There aren’t any Racine County farmers who are part of the cooperative, said Wisconsin Food Hub interim General Manager Sarah Lloyd. But the cooperative is working to expand, she said, and small, local farmers in Racine County could join it. Anyone interested in joining the cooperative can contact Lloyd at (608) 844-3758 or firstname.lastname@example.org.