A big part of the community, Lake Country Co-op supports local producers while still providing a great selection of fresh produce from around the world. Closer to home, or from further away, the team at Lake Country Co-op works hard to source fresh, quality ingredients for your table.
With a combined 130 years of experience in produce, the produce department at Lake Country Co-op is backed by knowledge and experience, and are passionate about providing great quality fruits, vegetables and herbs from both home and afar.
Harold Mulholland, Produce Manager with Lake Country Co-op says a key part of their success has to do with the fact that Co-op buyers are farmers too. Co-op buyers buy the middle of the crop, when it’s at the peak of quality. From there, produce is transported to a warehouse in either Calgary or Saskatoon, where a quality assurance manager inspects each truck. Once the approved produce arrives at the store in Prince Albert, it’s inspected again before being put out for consumers. Anything deemed not good enough for the shelves is sent to the Prince Albert Food Bank for use as compost in their community garden.
While items are sourced from locations around the world, Mulholland says the number-one rule is to stay close to home as much as possible. Walking around the produce department at Lake Country Co-op Marketplace, you’ll find produce from communities across Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta. Mulholland is passionate about his work and is proud to work for a company that gives produce managers the option of buying directly from local farmers, provided they meet all Canada GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) Food Safety Certification guidelines.
“One of the most important aspects to a healthy local economy is neighbours helping neighbours,” Mulholland adds. “I can order produce the night before, or that same morning, and have it picked and on my shelves that day, and you are enjoying it for supper.”
Always willing to try something new, Mulholland and his team are always interested in learning about new produce items, such as Turmeric and Quince, which was brought in following requests from customers. Quince, a yellowish fruit similar in appearance to a pear, is now a regular item in the produce department.
With the holiday season upon us, there are a number of new items to pick up for your table, such as Japanese Mandarin oranges. Picked last week and grown by a 7th generation family business, these fruits are brought in just for the holidays.
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