Wegmans Looks to Get Ahead of Organic Supply with Farming Innovations
CANANDAIGUA LAKE, NY - Innovation is the name of the game in the organic sector, and Wegmans is playing it in spades. Following the suit of Costco, the company was recently highlighted in local source Democrat & Chronicle for its organic farming program. In the initiative, the company uses a 168-acre testing ground looking for “old” solutions to take farming back to basics, producing food as it was grown hundreds of years ago without any artificial compounds, then sharing breakthroughs and collaborating with grower partners to make their ventures more financially viable.
“This is innovation to commercialization,” said Nate August, Wegmans’ Organic Farm and Orchard Manager, according to the source. “We’re finding something that works for our customers. We're essentially handing (our partner farmers) a new enterprise and saying, 'This is something you can do.'"
The endeavor started in 2007 with a 50-acre plot of land, and today the company operates a sizable 168-acre farm, which produces grapes, apples, wheat, and strawberries, among other crops. The company is exploring ideas such as biodynamic farming to prevent disease and raise quality. The company hopes to break pest and disease cycles naturally, and allow soil to rejuvenate without sacrificing quality or flavor.
The experiments are well documented and perfected, then offered to local farmers in an effort to reinvigorate organic methods, which have otherwise been slow in the uptake, and costly to sustain.
Looking at the long-term future, organic methods could become advanced enough to eclipse the costs of conventional farming, said August—the costs of raising organic bok choy, a leafy green vegetable, at the farm are already competitive with the product’s conventional counterpart, according to the source.
How will retailer innovations continue to push the industry forward? Stay tuned to AndNowUKnow as we continue to report.