When people think of Illinois agriculture, corn and soybeans are likely the first crops that come to mind. But great soil, favorable climate, strong family tradition and good old Illinois ingenuity make the state a top grower of several specialty crops as well.
Pumpkins, melons, horseradish, peaches, apples, popcorn and grapes for wine production are just some of the lesser-known crops grown on over 100,000 acres of Illinois farmland each year. In 2010, specialty crops generated more than $400 million in sales.
The Illinois Where Fresh Is logo program is made available by the Illinois Department of Agriculture in cooperation with the Illinois Specialty growers for producers and retailers to use as a tool to help promote Illinois grown produce, fruits and other horticulture commodities. The Illinois Where Fresh Is logo is part of a marketing campaign that can be used to help identify and sell Illinois-grown produce at grocery stores throughout Illinois. This is just one piece of a larger state-wide initiative that will be promoting the logo through various media outlets including television, radio and billboards.
Why is this program important?
Statistics show consumers want locally-grown produce for the health and well being of their families and to support the local economy. On average, produce travels 1,500 miles to the grocery store it is sold from. When spent locally, 32 cents more of every dollar stays in the community.
The largest obstacle is consumer awareness. The Illinois “Where Fresh Is” logo program will eliminate this issue and easily identify Illinois grown for the consumer.
Want to be involved?
For a producer to use the logo, one only needs to fill out and submit an application to the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Once approved, the applicant will receive a list of sales materials with the logo, and these materials can be purchased at cost for unlimited use.
Download a copy of the application for this program. If you are interested in participating in this program, complete and return to: Illinois ... Where Fresh Is, Illinois Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Marketing and Promotions, State Fairgrounds, P.O. Box 19281, Springfield, IL 62794-9281.