NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – Representatives from the produce and bakery departments of Hannaford Market of Uxbridge brought information about health and coupons for savings Wednesday to the Northbridge Senior Center.
And they came bearing gifts – two large boxes of locally grown McIntosh apples, emphasizing the supermarket’s Close to Home program. The apples were delivered from Leominster that morning, said produce manager Jim Giro.
Hannaford purchases products locally grown or produced in the state.
Giro said he receives a new delivery of produce every morning. “The corn you purchase on Friday was delivered on Friday,’’ he said to the approximately 20 people who attended.
The program was to include exotic fruits and how to prepare them, but food regulations made that impossible, said Program Director Jeannine Dionne.
However, Giro said he’s at the market six days a week, and he and his employees are there to help. “Don’t be afraid to talk to us; we’re there for you,’’ he said. Fruit such as papayas and mangoes are getting more popular as time goes on, he said. “Come to us; we’ll tell you how to cut it and use it.’’
He also gave each participant a $2 coupon for produce. “If you want to try an avocado or star fruit, we’re picking up the cost,’’ he noted.
Bakery manager Paige LaLonde talked about the market’s Guiding Star program, through which the nutritional value of a product is graded.
The Guiding Star program “makes it a lot easier to shop through our stores,’’ LaLonde said, because shoppers are able to quickly pinpoint the healthier options.
Hannaford developed the Guide Star program in 2006. Not all products receive a star. Those that do are given one, two or three stars signifying good, better and best nutritional value.
During the program, participants also learned about gluten-free and soy products as alternatives and also learned that Hannaford offers a 5 percent discount to senior shoppers on Tuesdays.