(Photo Credits: Stacy Milbouer)
By: Tom Long, Fiddlehead Magazine Contributing Editor
Our commitment to buy local doesn’t have to end at the farm stand or farmers’ market, there are other options like Hannaford Supermarkets. The grocery chain provides produce and other products from more than 800 local farms and companies, including White Mountain Kettle Corn in Henniker, Moonlight Meadery in Londonderry, Broadview Farm in Sanbornton, Brookdale Farm in Hollis, Contoocook Creamery and North Country Smokehouse in Claremont.
“I think it’s fabulous,” said Lisa Guidi of Nashua, who recently picked up some locally grown onions and corn at the Hannaford in Hudson. “It’s one-stop shopping. It means I don’t have to make a second trip to a farm stand, but I’m still getting locally grown vegetables.”
The supermarket chain is committed to buying local.
“Hannaford places a high priority on carrying locally made and locally grown products in all of our stores, because we know that it’s important to our customers, and it’s good for our communities,” said Hannaford spokesperson Ericka Dodge. “Giving customers the opportunity to buy a variety of local products in our stores helps to preserve local farmland, local traditions and local jobs. We’re aware of the positive impact that we can have on local businesses and we celebrate the opportunity to share in their success,”
In fact, each year Hannaford adds more locally sourced food and other items. Her remark echoes those on the company’s website: “We love local, and we know you do, too. Our local farmers and producers make life better for our communities and help preserve thousands of acres of farmland.” Each Hannaford store handpicks local items from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and New York. They also encourage customers to talk to the store manager if they have a favorite local product they’d like to see in the store.
It should not be a surprise. The company was founded in 1883 by Arthur Hannaford, who sold fresh produce from a cart in Portland, Maine. The chain now has more than 180 stores, but it has not forgotten its local roots.
“Hannaford has been doing local since 1883 when it started, and we continue our strong focus on our local communities, businesses, and schools today,” Dodge said. “Throughout the Northeast, Hannaford works with over 900 local producers and growers representing over 7,000 varieties. That’s equivalent to 4 percent of our overall sales. In New Hampshire, that is 118 local farmers and producers, with just under 900 products.”
The supermarket is also a good neighbor in a number of other ways. One hundred percent of its seafood comes from sustainable sources; 78 percent of the chain’s waste is recycled; and its store brand coffee is certified fair trade. The company has donated more than 23 million pounds of food to the New Hampshire Food Bank and other hunger-relief organizations.
Hannaford has donated thousands of dollars to local groups, including $40,000 to the New Hampshire Farm Bureau (NHFB) Young Farmers Committee Harvest for All program and $30,000 to the Organization for Refugee and Immigrant Success (ORIS). That donation will help ORIS expand the production and distribution of food from its farm in Dunbarton to low-income families and allow 15 low-income young people from Manchester and Concord to learn about farming.
“ORIS epitomizes the ways in which food brings people and communities together — and we are so fortunate to have them as a part of our community,” said John Fifield, director of operations for Hannaford. “Their commitment for getting more locally grown produce onto the dinner table is a value that Hannaford shares. And because of that, we are proud to support the farmers and staff at ORIS.”
“We are all linked by a shared concern for our earth and a desire to care for the diverse bounty it provides,” according to the Hannaford website.
That works for Guidi, who said the more her local Hannaford offers local produce the more she’ll buy.
Originally published in Fiddlehead Magazine.