Meijer expects to sell 500,000 locally grown pumpkins this year as customers begin looking for the perfect pumpkin this season.
Since opening in 1934, the Midwest retailer has purchased from local growers of all sizes and seeks to continue the tradition. Today, Meijer works with more than 200 local growers in the Midwest to shorten the time and distance between the product’s harvest and the checkout lane.
Meijer said it has partnered with family-owned farms in six Midwest states to bring customers the freshest assortment of pumpkins. More than 95% of pumpkin shipments will arrive at a store just a day or two after harvest, and many local farmers are still waiting to harvest additional pumpkins to add to Meijer’s assortment.
“Everything we do for fall harvest starts with understanding what will make the season great for families, so partnering with local growers allows us to add a pumpkin-patch feeling to the shopping experience,” said Meijer Product Buyer Sedric Wytch. “Carving or decorating jack-o’-lanterns tops everyone’s Halloween activity list, so having the largest and freshest pumpkins available captures the imagination and brings families together.”
Wytch also said Michigan, Ohio and Illinois are among the top producers of Meijer pumpkins, with some of the more notable Michigan pumpkin growers being Heritage Farms and Todd Greiner Farms. Illinois and Wisconsin stores will often receive a majority of their pumpkins from J & J Dill and Alsum Farms, while those located in Indiana and Ohio receive shipments from Mouzin Brothers Farms and Walcher Farms.
“The fall harvest is especially symbolic this year after being away from grandparents and relatives,” said Tony Grice, of Heritage Farming Enterprises of Fremont. “Whether you’re carving with teenagers or decorating with toddlers, those are the type of memories that will bring families together.”
Customers also can find gourds, ornamental corn, varieties of ornamental pumpkins, mini pumpkins and pumpkins grown specifically for making pies and other autumn treats through the fall season at Meijer stores across the Midwest.