In & Around Food World

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Bright Farms, New York, announced that it is building a 100,000-square-foot hydroponic greenhouse in Ward 8 in the District of Columbia that will grow enough crops to meet the fresh vegetable consumption needs of up to 5,000 residents in what is considered a “food desert” area lacking close access to fresh foods.

The greenhouse will grow up to 1 million pounds of local produce per year, including tomatoes, lettuces, and herbs for an area retailer, said Kate Siskel, marketing and media relations manager, Bright Farms. It will be built in partnership with the D.C. Department of General Services (DGS), acting on behalf of Mayor Vincent C. Gray and supporting the mayor’s Sustainable D.C. Program, which seeks to dramatically expand food production and healthy food access within the city.

Doris Schnuck, whose family grocery business has grown to one of the largest privately held companies in St. Louis, died last month at age 88 at her home in Clayton, MO, the St. Louis Business Journal reported. Mrs. Schnuck, the wife of the late Donald O. Schnuck, had been in failing health, Schnuck Markets spokeswoman Lori Willis reported.

Donald Schnuck died in 1991 at age 69. He was one of three children of Edwin H. Schnuck and his wife, who began the family business in 1937 as a wholesale meat company. Donald and Doris married in 1944. The four families had opened seven retail stores by 1947, according to Journal reports.

Schnuck Markets had grown to $2.5 billion in revenue last year, with more than 10,900 of its total 14,800 employees based in the St. Louis area. Don and Doris Schnuck’s six children now run the business, the Journal says.

The Children’s Garden at MissouriBotanical Garden is named for Mrs. Schnuck, who also supported the St. Louis Zoo, DonaldDanforthPlantScienceCenter and Children’s Tumor Foundation.

Weis Markets, knowing that most children love a mystery, developed a program that teaches youngsters about eating healthier, even as they’re absorbed in solving a “mystery.”

The chain’s proprietary Mystery Tours send second, third and fourth graders into the produce aisle and other parts of the store searching for clues to solve The Case of the Missing Energy.

The program has captivated thousands of kids—and their parents and teachers—in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Maryland, officials say. “Our mission with the Mystery Tours is to combat childhood obesity through education,” according to Karen Buch, registered dietitian and Weis’s Director of Lifestyle Initiatives. “The program brings children and their families into our stores for a real-world educational experience.”

Weis has taken big measures to make the tours attractive to youngsters, decking out each kid as a detective. They’re given neon hats, spyglasses, writing pads so they can take notes, and detective badge patches. At the end of the tour, they receive a certificate indicating they’ve solved the mystery.

The mystery program features the fictitious character Energetic George, who has lost his energy but doesn’t know why. The children are charged with finding out what happened to George’s energy. Is it because he doesn’t eat red peppers? Or broccoli? Or red meat? Or drink enough milk?

During the course of the tour, the kids learn about different vegetables and how important their color is related to the energy-giving nutrients they contain. They also learn what a serving size is. Produce plays a huge role in the tour, then they go to meat and dairy departments, and to grains, and then to the beverage department. There they are told how important plain water is, and that they should not choose real sugary beverages.

A college professor from Keystone College brought his psychology students in for the tour, a Weis spokesperson told Food World.