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Small distributors focus on local produce

MICHIGAN (Nov. 16, 2009)—Small Michigan distributors are carving out their own niche in an industry long dominated by giants like Sysco and U.S. Foodservice that don’t specialize in Michigan-grown foods. They are building stronger links between Michigan’s small farms and other food producers and its restaurants, grocery stores and schools. The newcomers’ efforts are generating more profits for the state’s farmers and making it easier for consumers and businesses to obtain locally grown foods.

“This is a fairly new model for Michigan,” said Christine Lietzau, program manager for Select Michigan, which promotes Michigan foods to consumers and retailers. “It’s certainly becoming more prevalent.”

Locavore sells fruits, vegetables and other foods grown in northern and western Michigan. It already has 600 customers, including Clarkston Public Schools, the Plum Markets and the Sweet Lorraine restaurants.

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