Riveridge Produce Marketing's Trish Taylor Outlines the Company's Upcoming Michigan Asparagus Program
- by Jessica Donnel
SPARTA, MI - With the 2017 Michigan asparagus season fast-approaching, many members of the buy-side are starting to look for a perfect provider to partner with. One company, Riveridge Produce Marketing, is using the new year to make even bigger steps towards becoming the ideal Michigan asparagus provider, introducing expanded volumes, a new packing line, and new value-added products.
“Riveridge Produce Marketing will be offering a much larger volume than in the past thanks to an expanded partnership with Ridgeview Orchards in Conklin, Michigan—the largest volume supplier and packer of Michigan asparagus,” Trish Taylor, Account Manager at Riveridge Produce, tells me. “Additionally, one our apple packers, Shafer Lake, will be putting in a packing line to sort and package the harvest in Southwest Michigan.”
Along with asparagus sizing that ranges from Small, Standard, Large, to Extra Large, and its 11lb and 28lb cases in both banded or loose, the company is introducing a microwaveable 12 oz bag as an answer to consumers’ craving for more convenience-driven solutions in 2017.
“This options fills a niche as consumers look to a more convenient option in preparing their fresh produce,” Trish shares about the latest product addition. “Simply cut the corner of the bag and microwave for 2-3 ½ minutes. The asparagus comes out tender and perfectly steamed.”
Michigan’s asparagus season typically runs from anywhere around last week of April or as late as the second week of May, extending supply for another six to eight weeks. Trish tells me that Michigan is the second largest grower of asparagus in the country, producing about 20 million pounds each season. So, why is Michigan-grown asparagus in such high-demand every year?
“Michigan-grown asparagus is unique in that it is the only region that solely harvests by hand snapping. Hand snapping the asparagus at harvest causes the product to break at its natural snapping point, meaning consumers do not need to cut the woody, fibrous ends before cooking,” Trish explains, noting the region’s penchant for growing asparagus with excellent flavor and a long shelf-life. “Being within proximity to Lake Michigan, the soil is dominated by sandy loam which fuels asparagus growth and flavor.”
Riveridge Produce provides its retail partners with plenty of other incentives as well, Trish adds, including:
- Recipes, photos (from farm to packing to table), and content available to use at Point of Sale or on social media networks
- Specially tailored marketing opportunities for retailers based on volume
- Each of Riveridge’s growers and packing sheds are Primus GFSI certified for food safety
- Riveridge’s has four dedicated food safety/QA Managers who are out in the fields, at receiving stations, and packing facilities checking for compliance and providing feedback
- Buying Riveridge’s asparagus helps to supports 120 Michigan family farms
Michigan’s asparagus season is around just three months away, the perfect time to start prepping your retail program. For more information on everything Riveridge offers, visit riveridgeproduce.com.