Soup To Nutz

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I know we’re all schvitzing to death in the height of the summer heat, but fall is just around the corner and with that comes those delicious smells: anything pumpkin, cinnamon and musty leaves, along with our favorite fall fruit: freshly picked apples. Word has it that the 2018 crop will be a little smaller than last year’s, but the sizes will be a bit larger and the quality will be excellent. I can taste them already. And if you haven’t already done so, be sure to dig into those famous Jersey peaches. This year’s spring weather has proven to be excellent for the summer crop. They’re deliciously sweet!

Replacing its original store on Bustleton Pike in Feasterville, Giant/Martin’s celebrated the grand opening of its “new” Feasterville store on August 10. The brand new, ground-up 66,000 square foot store on Street Road (in the old Kmart shopping center) is about 25 percent larger than the previous location. Tim Feoli, a 36-year grocery veteran, has been tapped to be the store manager. “We can’t wait to debut our new look featuring fresh products from local farms and suppliers in an easier to shop layout,” said Feoli. “We’re excited to show the entire Feasterville-area community all the fresh ideas that their new store has to offer.” New to this store are an expanded market fresh produce department with more organic selections, fresh-squeezed juices, in-store cut fruit, and a full salad bar. “Our produce department alone has over 350 fresh produce items, and we’ll be welcoming a new crop of local fruits and vegetables to showcase on day one,” continued Feoli. “We’re super proud to partner with our local farmers, especially this time of year.” The store will carry local products from Pennsylvania and New Jersey farmers and producers. Not to be missed is a Beer & Wine Eatery, stocked with a 400 plus selection of domestic, imported and craft beers. Keeping it local, Giant is partnering with 13 breweries from Pennsylvania and New Jersey, all of which are featured on cold and warm Local Beer shelves. The Beer & Wine Eatery will also showcase craft beers within the expansive Mix-a-Six case, where customers can mix and match to find new favorites. By far the coolest feature of the new store is the convenient Starbucks on the Go kiosk, the first of its kind at Giant. Starbucks on the Go will feature both hot and iced Starbucks beverages that customers make themselves. Customers can enjoy lattes, cappuccinos, flavored coffee or just a simple cup of coffee to go. To make life even easier, busy Feasterville shoppers can order their groceries effortlessly online and have them delivered reliably with Peapod by Giant.

On August 1, Weis Markets presented a $225,000 donation to the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) in support of their mission: ABLE ‘s Heart of the Brave campaign, which encourages veterans and their families, corporate supporters and friends to help create an America where our most severely injured heroes have access to what they’ve earned and deserve: care, jobs and benefits. This donation was generated through customer contributions during a two-week, in-store fundraising program. Weis Markets’ stores raised $195,000, and a corporate contribution rounded up the donation to $225,000. This is a significant increase from Weis’ inaugural PVA campaign over Veteran’s Day in 2017, which raised a total of $150,000 for the organization. “We are extremely grateful to our customers for their generosity and we’re proud of our many associates who helped generate this donation, which was a $75,000 increase over what was donated during our inaugural PVA campaign last year,” said Ron Bonacci, vice president of advertising and marketing for Weis Markets. “We are proud to support an organization that provides such essential resources for our veterans. Many of our associates are proud veterans who served their country, including our late chairman Robert F. Weis; we are thankful to them and to all who have served our great country. We’re also appreciate the strong support of our customers for our past programs on behalf of the Paralyzed Veterans of America.” Paralyzed Veterans of America provides much-needed support to veterans who have sacrificed so much for our country. We are pleased to be working in support of this deserving cause. With more than 42,000 American veterans living with spinal cord-related paralysis, PVA’s mission is to create an America where the most severely injured veterans are provided the physical care needed to live a healthy life, receive the benefits they’ve earned through military service and obtain job training and opportunities for new and fulfilling careers.

Also doing their part to support our troops at home and abroad, the ShopRite of Roxborough, operated by the Brown family, partnered with Operation Fuel Up to send coffee to our troops in the Middle East. The product was prepared for shipment at the ShopRite on August 16 to give these troops a taste of home.

It all started when Bernie Strain, a member of the Roxborough community, spoke with his son Brian who is with the Air Force in the Middle East. Brian commented that he and his troops were all wishing for better coffee. In just 10 days the community had donated over 70 pounds of coffee to help Bernie fulfill his son’s wish. “Sometimes we forget we still have troops in over 120 degrees everyday over in the Middle East,” said Strain. “Operation Fuel Up is another reminder to never forget about the men and women who serve. Collecting coffee is a small task for what my son and others do every day for our freedom.”

Philabundance, the Delaware Valley’s largest hunger relief organization, has launched Abundantly Good, its retail food brand featuring healthy products, proceeds of which go to rescue and produce free, high-quality food for local people experiencing hunger. Fact: 40 percent of all food produced in the U.S. is wasted annually, yet one in five Philadelphians don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Philabundance saw this as an opportunity to have an impact on these inextricably linked challenges. By using retail sales to fund the rescue of perfectly good dairy produced by struggling Lancaster farmers, using it to create more good food and providing that food, for free, to those in need, Abundantly Good is a sustainable, triple bottom line brand positively impacting people, planet and profit. “This new brand is Abundantly Good for our community on so many levels,” said Glenn Bergman, executive director of Philabundance. “It helps farmers by providing increased revenue, it helps cut down on harmful greenhouse gases created when food goes into landfills and the proceeds of sales help our clients access free, healthy, local food.” The launch comes on the heels of a year-long product pilot with DiBruno Bros, in which the local specialty food retailer carried five varieties of Abundantly Good hand-crafted raw milk cheese made by Lancaster, PA farmers. Sales so far have enabled $9,000 to be contributed toward the rescue and processing of excess milk into high-quality cheese for Philabundance’s clients. “We jumped at the chance to partner with Philabundance by selling Abundantly Good cheese, as it gave us the chance to sell something that tastes good and does good at the same time,” said Emilio Mignucci, vice president, DiBruno Bros.

The idea for this brand came about during a collaboration with partners, including the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and Chester County Food Bank, as well as the Pennsylvania dairy industry. All together, they helped save 12 tanker loads of surplus milk from being wasted by using it to create 66,000 pounds of natural, high-quality cheese by local cheesemakers made for hungry Pennsylvanians. Philabundance built on this successful partnership by continuing this model under Abundantly Good, creating a brand that funds itself. As Philabundance was founded on the concept of food rescue more than 30 years ago, the nonprofit recognized the growing market for more rescued, or ‘upcycled’ products – those made with surplus ingredients. To that end, in July, it launched the next product in the Abundantly Good brand, Spiced Tomato Jam in conjunction with TBJ Gourmet. Proceeds of the jam will go to provide free tomato products, such as sauce and soup, to Philabundance’s clients. Philabundance, with the generous support from The Claneil Foundation, plans to deepen its commitment to food waste reduction and innovation by expanding the Abundantly Good brand. The focus for 2018 is to secure additional collaborators to source and process local excess dairy and produce. Philabundance plans to provide more than 8,000 pounds of donated upcycled products to people facing food insecurity. Philabundance founder Pamela Rainey-Lawler judged the Top Chef-style completion and High Street on Market won best dish with their delicious strata. Any retailers interested in selling or distributing the Abundantly Good brand are asked to contact sustainability@philabundance.org. For individuals interested in purchasing items, please visit Philabundance’s website at www.philabundance.org/upcycle for a list of locations selling it. Congrats!

The fall brings us a new round of events other than golf. In October, two happen to fall on the same day – October 16. Saint Joseph’s University food marketing department is hosting the 13th annual Food Industry Summit on its Philadelphia campus. The topic for this year is “Future of the Food Industry.” The internationally renowned food marketing program is presenting this one-day summit to gain insights into innovations – learning from the past, adapting to the present and anticipating future changes that will significantly affect how we do business. The speaker lineup includes: Jeff B Smith, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies Inc.; Donna Banks Ficcio, Weis Markets; John Bennett, McCormick; Chris Baldwin, BJ’s Wholesale Clubs; and Michael Goshe, Accenture. Proceeds from the event support scholarships, experiential learning opportunities for students and faculty, co-op education, internships and job placement. Sponsorships are also available. For more information, please contact Dr. John Stanton at jstanton@sju.edu or FIS@sju.edu.

That same afternoon from 4:00-8:00 p.m., the Greater Philadelphia chapter of the Network of Executive Women (NEW) will host its fall learning event at the Eden Resort in Lancaster, PA. The first ever NEW Greater Philadelphia scholarship will be given out to recipient Laura Beltz. NEW is thrilled to kick off this program and to be able to give back to well-deserved students in the region, as well as provide them with the opportunity to get involved as a NEW member upon graduation. For more information, go to www.newonline.org.

The New Jersey Food Council launched a food council leadership development program four years ago for future leaders who have a passion for working in the food industry, possess an interest in the dynamics and trends of government and want to make a difference in the direction of this industry. This program combines elements of mentoring, organizational education, leadership training, policy trends, and guided experiences. They are now accepting applications for the 2018-2019 program. If there is interest to nominate someone to participate in this program, please forward the completed nomination form to the New Jersey Food Council, 30 W. Lafayette Street, Trenton, NJ, 08608, njfc@njfoodcouncil.com or fax it to 609.396.6571 by August 27, 2018. The current class is scheduled to graduate at the Good Government Breakfast which will be held at 8:30 a.m. on October 3, at the Forsgate Country Club, Monroe Township, NJ. The new class will be announced and introduced at that event.

  1. Levin and Company, Inc. has been named a recipient of the 2018 Multi-Generational Family Business Award by The Philadelphia Inquirer. Winners were evaluated based on their overall impact, community involvement, innovation and growth. M. Levin and Company, Inc., along with the other winners of the Family Business Award categories were honored at an award ceremony luncheon on earlier this month onboard The Moshulu, a famous Philadelphia landmark restaurant. They were also highlighted in the business section of the August 19 Sunday Inquirer. The company is currently in its 112th year of business and is being run by third and fourth generation family members. One of the oldest wholesale produce distributors in the area, the company is best known for its ripening and distribution of bananas up and down the East Coast, moving more than 30,000 cases a week. M. Levin is also well known for its extensive offering of tropical and ethnic items, along with a full-line of fresh fruits and vegetables. The family is very proud of all their accomplishments and ability to have made it 112 years and still going strong. After many years at the Food Distribution Center, they now operate out of six units in the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market. Congratulations Levin family!

Birthday shout outs for this muggy month of August go to: Charlie Bell and Marty Deliski, Acme Markets; Michael Bozzuto, Bozzuto’s; Hans Ketels, Kings Food Markets/Balducci’s; Ed Rogers, L&L Brokerage; and Frank Frazier, retired from Cargill. Buon compleanno a tutti!

 

Quote of the month: “There are times when in order to keep ourselves in existence at all, we simply have to sit back for a while and do nothing.” Thomas Merton