Saturday, July 7, 2012

Whole Foods Hosts Meetings With Producers Ahead of Boise Opening

Posted By on Sat, Jul 7, 2012 at 10:18 AM

Ahead of the proposed November opening of Whole Foods' first Idaho location at the triangle bordered by Broadway Avenue and Front and Myrtle streets, store officials have met with Gem State growers and food producers.

The Austin, Texas, grocery chain prides itself on sourcing local, organic goods for its stores, and Boise shelves should be no different.

Members of the Idaho State Department of Agriculture's Idaho Preferred program recently met with Whole Foods officials to discuss requirements for becoming vendors. More than 50 different companies attended meetings, said Leah Clark, state ag trade specialist.

"We feel that’s a process that needs to happen directly between the producer and Whole Foods," Clark said.

While ISDA facilitated the sit-downs, the department remained separate from the process, said Clark. Businesses included Zeppole Bakery, 3 Horse Ranch Vineyards, Owyhee Produce from Nyssa, Ore., Ward's Greenhouse, 3 Girls Catering, Ballard Family Cheese and Dustan Bristol from Brick 29 Bistro in Nampa.

Whole Foods' list of requirements to become a vendor are long, including the prohibition of specific ingredients, extensive insurance, as well as specific packaging, manufacturing and distribution requirements. Rice Family Farms confirmed they have already held a farm tour for a Whole Foods official.

Stay tuned for a larger story on Whole Foods' local sourcing plans in the coming weeks.

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