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Inspect for the Best: How Heinen’s Guarantees the Freshest Produce

After opening his first butcher shop in 1929, Joe Heinen’s expanded into the produce business in the early 1930s. While raising and sourcing meat is much different than farming fruits and veggies, his standard for sourcing remained the same: “You have the find the best to sell the best.”

Nearly 95 years later, this simple message is still the the principle that guides our team of produce experts as they search for fresh produce for you to enjoy. In fact, because of this standard, the quality and freshness of our produce far surpasses the general grocery industry.

How does our Produce Team “find the best?” The answer is simple – form meaningful relationships with the growers themselves. Over time, we have developed a network of skilled farmers in our region and across the globe who believe in our standards and grow produce that meets our exact specifications. These relationships have allowed us to source the most premium, in-season produce from wherever it is available.

Finding the right growers is the first step to sourcing the high quality produce that Heinen’s is known for, and step two is all about inspection and ensuring that the produce actually meets our strict standards when it arrives to our warehouse from the farms.

How Does Heinen’s Inspect Produce?

The quality of any fresh crop is dependent on Mother Nature, so we have a full-time inspector at our warehouse who tests and inspects every produce delivery by hand to ensure that it meets our exact specifications for:

Fresh Orange Being Tested for Sugar Content

We have a different set of criteria for each kind of produce, as well as special tools that help us test factors like the pressure of an avocado for ripeness, the sugar content of an orange for sweetness, or the overall size of a grape for quality. However, there’s no better way to determine the quality of a fresh fruit or veggie than through taste, so our Produce Team also uses their own palates during inspection.

If the produce passes our strict inspection, it is placed in the proper temperature-regulated area of our warehouse and shipped out to our stores almost immediately.

What Happens if Produce Does Not Pass Heinen’s Inspection?

If a produce delivery does not meet our unique specifications, it never goes to waste. Our close relationships with growers allows us to either send the produce back to the farm or donate it to a local food bank for others to enjoy.

Peach Cut in Half

Whether you’re shopping our selection of local produce, greenhouse grown lettuce, fresh winter citrus or our summertime stone fruit, you can rest assured that each fruit and veggie has our stamp of approval!

Interested in learning more about our Produce Department?

Heinen's Grocery Store

By Heinen's Grocery Store

In 1929, Joe Heinen opened the doors of a small butcher shop on the east side of Cleveland, Ohio, aiming to establish himself as the city’s purveyor of quality meats. As customers came into Heinen’s new shop for their meat purchases, they began asking him to carry groceries as well. Joe added homemade peanut butter, pickles and donuts and by 1933, business had grown enough to include a line of produce and canned goods. Heinen’s Grocery Store was born.

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