“Our goal is to expand the local image and feeling of community,” says Scott Zahrn, sales manager for Broulim’s Fresh Foods. “We’re going to have the best-quality Idaho stuff in all of our departments in our stores.”
The stores carry a variety of local products throughout all of the departments, including wine, cheese, ice cream, candy, bread, meat and produce. The items are clearly designated with an Idaho Preferred logo, and tags often include details about the local producer.
On a weekly basis during harvest season, all 10 Broulim’s locations host farmers’ market-style events. Farmers throughout northern Utah and southern Idaho supply product to the company’s wholesaler, which then ships it to all of the stores, making it easier for both farmers and store personnel.
“The communities really like seeing their local stuff,” Zahrn adds. The farmers’ markets, which are in their second year, sold out of product every weekend during the last harvest season.
Broulim’s also hosted its second Idaho Preferred event, for which the grocer worked with the Idaho Preferred Council to showcase local producers during a weekend in September. The event generated a sales increase of 507 percent over the sales from the previous year. One of the key products were Idaho-grown potatoes harvested at 5 a.m. and in a truck outside the store by 10:30 a.m.
More than 2,400 pounds of potatoes were sold, a 958 percent increase over the pounds sold the previous year. Other popular products were Idaho plums, which saw a 376 percent sales increase, and Idaho Honeycrisp apples, which experienced a 1,430 percent sales increase.
Local is a key priority for Broulim’s.
“We want to get better and better every year,” Zahrn says. “The focus is to keep improving this program and grow our portfolio so we have more reliable growers or producers from our area.”