Apple Fest: Grocery Store Variety

apples 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:

And then I got this follow-up email from Heidi.


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.

photo from: http://foodsearchottawa.wordpress.com/home-grown

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?

 


11 thoughts on “Apple Fest: Grocery Store Variety

  1. It was a pretty fun time, wasn’t it? I greatly appreciated a lot of the things we learned and wish Cub would publicize their great local work more.

    And, hands down – un-waxed apples for me. That way I can make my apple honey tea from the skins!

    It was really nice meeting you! I love the blog layout… and I’m now following you through GoogleReader.

  2. I think my mind automatically goes to shiny and pretty things. But if I went into a store knowing that I had a choice between waxed and unwaxed, I would, of course, choose the unwaxed.

    I’m glad you had a fun time. You are famous and you’ve got poll!

    • PS. I would need to taste the apple before giving it a name. Or I would name it The Leah. Why not? I’m cute and sweet.

  3. I would definitely choose an unwaxed apple, but I would spend most of my time sifting through the choices to find ones with the least bruises. As for the naming of that spectacular looking apple….due to it’s colour….I would have to say ‘Yellple”, a combination of the colour yellow and the word apple. I had never heard of Cub grocery stores until now. Are they strictly based in MN (the US)? Well wishes to you guys.

    • The Yellple. Nice.
      I guess Cub’s only in the Midwest of the U.S., but at the event, they talked about the sneak attack they’re planning in order to invade Canada.

    • Why do they need a new apple? They said that they always have a gap in apple supply in August. They’re southern hemisphere apples (boo) run out in July, and Minnesota apples don’t come around until September. These apples would fill that gap.

      And how did they make it? I’m not sure, but I heard that Cub sent the honeycrisp and some other apple on an all-expenses-paid vacation in Cancun and let the magic happen….

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