So, let me tell you a story. It all started a week or so ago, when I got a group email invitation from Cub Food’s social media director Heidi to come to Cub’s corporate office and hear all about their new and improved local apples (established food blogger as I am). Before I could respond to the invitation, I had this comment exchange with Leah:
How she ever found that reply to that comment on this tiny blog is a mystery to me, but I definitely felt like I had to go at this point. So, Thursday night, we got into the car and drove to Stillwater, MN, where we’d planned to have a lovely patio dinner date (since it’s like summer again) before going to the Cub event, but due to the traffic, we were running behind and only had about 20 minutes to eat before it started. With all of the great places to eat in Stillwater, we ended up getting chicken strips at Dairy Queen (I know, right?) and shamefully snarfing them down in a far corner of the Cub Office parking lot, ducking to avoid being seen by the other bloggers walking into the building.
Of course, we got in there and there was TONS of food. I mean, a fantastic spread. Who’d have thought a grocery store would put out that much food? Not our best moment. Needless to say, we pretty much ate a second dinner.
Here’s how it went down. Cub’s really excited about the local apples that they’re offering this year. They’ve had relationships with local growers for a long time, but they’re trying to spread the word that they buy locally when possible. So they lured a bunch of food bloggers into their building with the promise of a goodie bag and a free basket of apples to take home in hopes that we’d be the word spreaders.
Here’s what I learned (and expressed!):
1. Cub actually supplies a lot of their produce locally and has a long history of doing so. I was able to talk to their produce director about the fact that it’s almost impossible to know what’s locally grown and what’s not in a Cub store. He said they’ve been terrible at communicating that to customers and are working on it. Nice, right?
2. Despite that fact, they still source tons of their produce from the southern hemisphere and western half of the U.S., which isn’t awesome by this blog’s standards.
3. Cub and their growers are working on a locally grown variety that would be ready to eat in Minnesota as early as August. This apple doesn’t even have a name yet. We got a sample, and it’s pretty outstanding. It’s like the honeycrisp went to Harvard and got a degree in poetry. It’s going to be the Don Draper of Minnesota apples. They’re having a naming contest for it now. I think a pun would be funny…The Fallple? The Apple-ause?
Okay, the last thing I learned was from Farmer Fred who’s a big supplier of their apples. I asked why they wax every apple that enters the store. His answer was both scientific and economic. He said the wax helps retain moisture (meh) AND that 9 times out of 10, consumers will choose a shiny apple over a dull one even after expressing that they’d prefer no wax. So…I went back to the produce director and asked if they’d ever done a study on which one people would choose if they KNEW the dull ones were unwaxed and therefore better for you…he didn’t know, but I think that’d be a really fun social experiment.
All in all, it was a pretty fun night, and I did learn a few things about Cub that surprised me.
But what I’d most like to know, is, given appropriate signage,
which would you choose – waxed or unwaxed?
Also, any ideas for the nameless apple?