Longer days and the additional hours of sunlight are enough to convince even the worst pessimist that spring is finally here! It’s been a tough winter where I work and live in the Northeast, so we’re ready for it. Time to open the windows and shake out the dust of winter. From the food side there are visions of Vidalia onions, truly fresh asparagus and rhubarb, soon to be followed by strawberries.
In many parts of the country, the thought of exchanging heavy, thick woolens for something a bit more shapely and revealing will remind your customers that it’s time to revisit health and wellness goals:
• Emphasize health goals, suggesting a plate should be made up of predominately fruits and vegetables (about half), with the other half split between higher protein foods (meat, fish, chicken, beans, soy) and grains (whole grains!).
• Make spring cleaning matter by putting a focus on green cleansers with earth-friendly ingredients.
• Use herbs and spices to heighten tastes of demo foods, and include some guidelines on the shelf life of these products. Part of renewal is checking out the expiration/best by dates on products in the pantry, on shelves and in the refrigerator.
• Include simple recipes for traditional spring foods, remembering that it may be necessary to demo them. It’s easy to pass on the rhubarb or the spring greens if you haven’t experienced their great taste. And for some, the memories are there but not the skill. Is it time for you to update your spring foods cooking classes?
• April 22 is Earth Day, another reason to tie in the supermarket’s role as a destination for natural and organic foods, as well as sustainable, earth- friendly products. Be sure they’re displayed in full force.
• Schools are embarking on the field trip trail. Plan to introduce visiting kids to spring in your supermarket (start with the seeds and plants in floral, then produce, spring foods, and then green and sustainable products).
Take the initiative. Between the urge to get outdoors again and the desire to clean out winter’s gloom, it’s a great time to promote the idea of spring renewal — outside and inside.
(Photo credit: Chris Bartnik Photography)