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Lowes Foods rebrands CSA program

Lowes Foods has revamped its CSA-style locally grown produce box progam.

"The Carolina Crate" is the new name for the prepackaged box program formerly known as the “Locally Grown Club.”

The boxes are available each Saturday at select stores starting at 9 a.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. Each box is $26 and contains 10 to 12 pounds of produce, said to be enough to feed a family of four for a week, with about six to eight varieties of produce that's selected based on what’s at its peak each week. Boxes also contain recipe ideas and information on participating farms.

The Carolina Crate is Lowes' version of a "community supported agriculture" box in that it has committed to buying the farmer's produce in advance of harvest. However, unlike many CSAs, the Carolina Crate does not require a subscription or an upfront payment.

The program began on June 14 and runs through Sept. 13. Lowes Foods is a banner of Alex Lee Inc., Hickory, N.C.

The boxes come at a time when an increasing number of food retailers are promoting locally grown produce and locally produced foods.

Other food industries are also embracing the local trend. In foodservice, for instance, Chipotle Mexican Grill just announced that it plans to purchase more than 20 million pounds of locally grown produce in its restaurants this year, up from its 2013 goal of 15 million pounds.

In a statement, Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle, said the goal is to change the way people think about and eat fast food.

“That means pushing ourselves to find the best quality ingredients – ingredients that have traditionally been available only in high-end restaurants and specialty food markets – and making them available in a way that is accessible to really mainstream customers.”

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