Image: Walmart marketing director of food and private brands James Johnson speaks at the launch event for the pilot program in Charlotte, N.C. (Courtesy Peter Taylor for FactoryMade)
Walmart and chefs in five cities will work together this summer to promote produce grown in their respective states.
As part of a pilot program, chefs in Charlotte, N.C.; Richmond, Va.; Tampa, Fla.; Houston and Atlanta will incorporate a local produce item into their menus. In each city, the local item being used at the restaurants will also be available from nearby Walmart stores.
The five chefs — all recognized by the James Beard Foundation — will share their dishes on Facebook and Instagram and highlight the presence of the same local produce at Walmart.
Other regional personalties, including cookbook author Ayesha Curry, will also promote the project.
“Consumers have a real connection with these chefs and restaurants, who are authentic influencers in their communities,” Ashley Gibbs, senior marketing director for Walmart U.S., said in a news release.
“We are thrilled they are sharing the message that fresh fruits and vegetables from local farms can be bought right in their local Walmart.”
Chefs participating in the program:
- Gene Kato, Upstream, Charlotte — featuring jalapeño peppers from Bailey Farms, Oxford, N.C.;
- Brittanny Anderson, Metzger Bar & Butchery, Richmond — featuring organic thyme from Shenandoah Growers, Harrisonburg, Va.;
- Ferrell Alvarez, Rooster & the Till, Tampa — featuring white, crimini and portabella mushroom caps from Monterey Mushrooms, Zellwood, Fla.;
- Anita Jaisinghani, Pondicheri Bake Lab + Shop, Houston — featuring mini San Marzano tomatoes from Village Farms, Marfa, Texas; and
- Rui Liu, Masterpiece, Atlanta — featuring Vidalia sweet onions from Bland Farms, Glennville, Ga.
The pilot program, dubbed Rediscovering America, was put together by Santa Monica-based agency FactoryMade and Los Angeles-based Haworth Marketing + Media.