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Adding Fresh Produce

Downtown Toledo’s Madison Market has long served fresh salads, veggie wraps, hummus, grape leaves and other healthy dishes from the store’s kitchen. So when manager Jack Eid was asked about joining Eat Fresh, Live Well’s healthy corner store initiative, he knew fresh produce would be a nice addition for his customers living or working nearby.

“A lot of people just make a special stop to pick up a banana, like mothers who are taking their kids to school,” Jack said.

Madison Market, located at 901 Madison Ave. near the Toledo-Lucas County Main Library, is among 21 neighborhood stores in various areas of Toledo that currently are part of the initiative that started in 2012. The Eat Fresh, Live Well team provides stores that become part of the initiative with a wooden produce stand, a celebratory kick off, colorful signs and other marketing assistance.

The Eat Fresh, Live Well team is especially focused on adding fresh fruits and vegetables to corner stores in low-income neighborhoods without supermarkets nearby. With just 6% of Lucas County adults eating the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, improving access to fresh produce helps address two of Healthy Lucas County’s five priority health issues: Increasing healthy weight status and preventing chronic diseases.

Madison Market

Before joining the healthy corner store initiative in September, many Madison Market customers had asked about whether the store stocked fresh produce. The produce, especially fresh fruit for snacking, has been well received, Jack said.

“So far, it’s been doing well,” Jack said.

Bananas and oranges are the biggest fresh produce sellers, followed by apples. The store also stocks tomatoes, lettuce, potatoes, onions, cucumbers and green peppers, and some of the items are kept in a kitchen cooler.

Advice for Stores

Jack advised other neighborhood store managers to consider joining the healthy corner store initiative. Getting a produce stand and signs helps make customers aware that the store is selling fresh produce, he said.

“It’s something that may not go well at the beginning, but you will be amazed by the different types of people who will be buying produce,” Jack said. “I think it’s a great addition to any business.”

Please click here for a map of all locations that are part of the growing healthy corner store initiative.

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