News Release
 June 10, 2010
CONTACT: Katie McKenna

Produce Managers From Tops’ 131 Stores Tour Local Growers

Williamsville, NY – Produce managers from Tops Friendly Markets’ 131 stores in New York and Pennsylvania rolled up their sleeves yesterday and hit the field to learn first-hand about the locally grown produce that is sold in all Tops stores. At the same time, the managers had an opportunity to speak with Matt Morgan, New York State Deputy Agriculture Commissioner, and Betsy Bihn, senior extension associate in the food science department of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY about produce, locally grown products, food safety and other, current agricultural issues.

“Our customers want to be confident that their produce is fresh, safe and locally grown,” said Tops Friendly Markets President and CEO Frank Curci. “Having Deputy Commissioner Morgan and Ms. Bihn available to speak with our produce team and answer their questions will undoubtedly help Tops associates educate our consumers.”

“With Tops once again under local ownership and management, it is also more important than ever for us to build the relationship between Tops and our local growing partners, Curci added. “Local growers and farmers are very important to the economies of the regions we serve and we believe in supporting this industry. That’s what our homegrown campaign is all about.”

Tops’ homegrown campaign, which will be launched this summer, has a central theme of informing Tops’ customers where the produce they purchase comes from. The campaign will include in-store signage that shows where the local produce comes from and tells who the local growers are from the New York and Pennsylvania regions. Tops is working with local marketing firm The SKM Group to develop the homegrown campaign and in-store signage.

Since transitioning back to a locally operated and managed grocer in 2007, Tops has doubled the number of local growing partners it uses. Tops has more than 200 farms and grower co-operatives in Western and Central New York now providing fresh produce to its stores.

Produce managers from each Tops store toured Eden Valley Growers, one of the Buffalo areas largest growers’ consortiums, along with Amos Zittel & Sons, both of whom supply local produce sold in Tops stores. “The produce managers had the opportunity to experience the quality and selection of fresh produce such as corn, peppers, lettuce, and apples that we ship to stores on a daily basis,” said Sam Qureshi, produce and floral director at Tops. “The growers that we worked with today represent those farms that supply Tops stores with fresh-from-the-field, homegrown produce.”

Qureshi added that there are various benefits associated with choosing products from local farms. He cited the positive impact on the local economy and the increased support of local family farmers, the quality of the produce and environmental benefits such as reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by cutting down on the distance it takes for the fruits and vegetables to travel from the farm to stores.

“When our produce managers are able to see, smell and touch the products first-hand while that produce is still on the vine, tree, or plant, they are better educated about the product and better equipped to explain the benefits of homegrown produce to their customers and associates,” Qureshi added.

Tops Markets, LLC, is headquartered in Williamsville, NY and operates 131 full-service supermarkets – 126 company-owned and five franchise locations. With more than 13,000 associates, Tops is a leading full-service grocery retailer in upstate New York and northern Pennsylvania. For more information about Tops Markets, visit the company's website at


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