Alan Worrell of Carroll County, VA Receives
Wayne Scott Memorial Grower of the Year Award
Abingdon, VA (Friday, January 14, 2011) - Food City is well-known for providing their customers with the freshest produce available at the lowest possible prices, due in part to their locally grown produce initiative. What began with a small number of items supplied by a handful of area farmers ten years ago has grown into a multi-million dollar operation.
"We pride ourselves in selecting the best products possible for our customers," says Steven C. Smith, Food City president and chief executive officer. "Our local farms are known for producing some of the finest products in the country. Buying locally is the logical choice. It provides our customers with the freshest produce possible, while lending additional support to our local economies. In many instances, our locally grown produce arrives at the store the same day it was picked. It simply doesn't get any fresher than that".
In 2009, Food City created the Wayne Scott Memorial Grower of the Year Award. The award was named in honor of Unicoi County farmer Wayne Scott, one of the first to partner with the retail supermarket chain. The award recognizes one outstanding grower each year. "Scott Farms was among the first to partner with our company and Scott's Strawberries are one of our most sought after products," says Smith. "Wayne Scott was one of the finest, most honorable men I have ever had the privilege of doing business with. We thought it befitting to honor his memory and dedication to the agricultural industry with this annual award".
Alan Worrell of Worrell Family Farms in Carroll County, Virginia was selected as this year's award recipient. Worrell was honored during the company's Local Grower's Appreciation Luncheon in Kingsport, TN earlier today. Worrell grew up on the farm his family has owned since before the county was established and became an active participant before he could see over the steering wheel of their tractor. Throughout his school years, Worrell was active in his local FFA, serving as President at the Intermediate and High School levels and winning numerous awards. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Economics from Virginia Tech and spent several years working in Agricultural Retail Management before making the move to full time farming. Four years ago, Worrell converted his family's cattle-sheep-hay operation to commercial produce production, increasing his operation by forging strong partnerships with Virginia Produce and Food City. In 2010, he became GAP certified. Worrell enjoys sharing his love for farming with the community, often speaking at area schools. He and his wife Kellie reside on the family farm with their two children, Virginia and Michael.
Food City purchases produce from a number of local farms, including those in Grainger, Blount, Hawkins, Unicoi, Jefferson and Sullivan counties in Tennessee; Scott and Carroll counties and through Appalachian Harvest co-op for locally grown organics from the growers in Scott County, Virginia.
"We enjoy a great partnership with a variety of local farms," comments Mike Tipton, director of produce operations for Food City. "And we are proud to be the exclusive retail outlet for a number of them and of course our customers love the added convenience," says Tipton.
Food City purchases a wide variety of items from local growers, including tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, cabbage, half runner beans, okra, peppers, squash, gourds, pumpkins, cantaloupes, watermelons, blackberries, strawberries, pears, raspberries, select organic produce and more. Last year alone, Food City purchased $4,079,000 in locally grown produce, in addition to their purchases of local floral and lamb.
Headquartered in Abingdon, Virginia, K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc. currently operates 106 retail food outlets in the tri-state regions of Southeast Kentucky, Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee. For more information on Food City and their ongoing initiatives, visit their website at www.foodcity.com.