Williamsville, New York-based Tops is offering customers a sustainable produce option through Little Leaf Farms’ fresh lettuces.
Little Leaf Farms’ hydroponic greenhouses use sunlight and captured rainwater to grow lettuce, which is harvested and delivered to stores within 24 hours, improving shelf life.
“We get lots of calls and emails from Little Leaf Farms fans, who are surprised and delighted by the quality and shelf life of our lettuce,” said Carina Young, associate brand manager for Little Leaf Farms.
“Most lettuce travels 3,000 miles across the country, sacrificing fuel and freshness along the way. By growing closer to stores like Tops, we’re able to significantly reduce food mileage and food waste while offering our consumers fresher, better tasting greens.”
Little Leaf Farms sustainably collects 100 percent of the water that falls onto its roof, sanitizes it and uses it to water its greens, drawing on groundwater in times of severe drought. Any excess water that the lettuce does not use, is recycled through its water filtration system and put back in the greenhouse. Growing this way uses 90 percent less water than field grown greens.
With greenhouses located throughout the Northeast, the proximity allows Tops to cut down on its fuel emissions during transportation.
“When it comes to best in class, Little Leaf sets the bar pretty high,” said Brandon Bentley, category business manager for vegetables at Tops.
“Not only do we pride ourselves in the relationship with the farm, but the entire organization believes in the same future we do. One with your food closer to home, one where you know your food is not only good for you, but good for our future through proper practices and pushing the envelope of innovation in sustainability.”
The grocer offers several Little Leaf Farms’ products in most locations, including its baby crispy green leaf lettuce and sweet baby butter leaf.
Tops Markets operates 149 grocery stores in New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont, including five that are run by franchisees. With more than 14,000 employees, the company offers consumers sustainably sourced products, while helping its communities flourish through support for programs that eradicate hunger and disease, educate youth and reduce environmental waste and energy consumption.