4 years ago

Meet our senior produce buyer, Jeff Anderson

Walk into
any of our stores and you can’t help but notice the beautiful, vibrant fruits
and veggies that fill our produce departments. Did you know a lot of our
produce is sourced locally? Senior Produce Buyer Jeff Anderson explains our
commitment to partnering with local growers.

Q: What
does a produce buyer do?
A: At Lunds & Byerlys we have a highly skilled team of buyers who
are experienced in all areas of product procurement. Each of the buyers tends
to specialize in a specific area of expertise and products, which helps us keep
on top of the ever-changing market. As a produce buyer, I work hard to source
new, unique items from around the world, and I also try to find the highest quality
produce available right here at home.

Q: Why is
it important to partner with local growers?  

A: Lunds & Byerlys maintains a broad commitment to partnering with
local growers. This commitment is important because it supports local farmers
and provides you fresh, seasonal produce. On a personal level, supporting local
growers has always been an important belief as many of my family members were
farmers all their lives. What’s more, along the way I’ve developed longtime
friendships with many of our growers that date back 20 years or more. Our
relationships are so important because we know we are there to support each
other. We need them and they need us – it’s as simple as that.

Q: How do
you find local growers to partner with?

A: One of the most exciting parts of working for Lunds & Byerlys is
our terrific reputation. Throughout the year I receive many calls from local
growers who know about our commitment to sourcing locally grown products and
want to get their produce into our stores. In addition to these calls, we are
constantly seeking out new sources for all kinds of items, particularly
specialty items that only one grower produces.

Q: Lunds
& Byerlys recently won the Minnesota Grown Retailer of the Year award. What
does this mean?

A: We are very proud of this award, and feel fortunate to have been
selected as the Minnesota Grown Retailer of the Year for the fourth year in a
row by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. We received this award because
we consistently provide quality produce and feature Minnesota Grown products in
our stores. This illustrates the way in which we, as a company, fully embrace
and support the Minnesota Grown concept. We work to make sure you know where
your food is coming from by posting photos and stories of our local growers and
their families near the products they provide. We also host Meet the Grower
events where you can meet with them face-to-face to hear their stories and
learn more about their products. These experiences help complete the full
circle of the farm to store experience in a unique, enriching way.

Q: What’s
your favorite part of your job?

A: I really enjoy the fresh products I work with; I never tire of eating
fresh fruits and watching the produce change with each season. I also really
enjoy discovering new items. Many of our selections start as requests from our
customers while they’re traveling the world. They find something they like
abroad, come home, and ask their Lunds & Byerlys produce manager if they
can find it for them. It’s always fun when we can get something new into the
stores for a customer.

Q: How
did you start in this business?

A: I’ve been in the produce business for over 44 years. I started, as
many of us have, as a part-time employee during high school. After working in
the produce department of a grocery store, I was soon promoted to produce
manager where I learned the “art” of the produce department. I’ve always
enjoyed the visual aspects of the produce department and the beauty one can
bring out of it by arranging products in a certain way.

I began my career with Lunds & Byerlys in 1983 as a produce manager.
In 1994 I was asked to become a buyer, and I’ve enjoyed this position ever
since!

Q:
Anything else we should know about local produce?

A: It’s always a challenge for any grower to be successful given all of
the variables that are thrown their way on a daily basis, especially in
Minnesota with the constantly changing weather. It’s easy for of us as
consumers to forget how the crazy weather we had a week, a month, or sometimes
even a year ago can have an effect on the produce in stores today. When
it’s all said and done, Mother Nature is still the boss!