HARRISBURG, Pa., June 10, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A major Pennsylvania grocery chain is now offering its customers milk produced entirely in Pennsylvania, keeping dollars in local communities and supporting local jobs.
GIANT Food Stores, based in Carlisle, Cumberland County, is the first national retailer to qualify its store brand milk as PA Preferred™, meaning 100 percent of the milk is produced in Pennsylvania.
"I applaud GIANT for giving customers what they want – fresh, locally produced food," Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley said during the milk's launch at GIANT Food Store in Harrisburg, Dauphin County.
"By offering PA Preferred milk, GIANT is helping support farmers and area businesses that produce quality products, while making investments in local economies and keeping Pennsylvania growing," Cawley said.
PA Preferred™ is the official brand of agriculture products made or grown in Pennsylvania. The program's trademark is a gold checkmark inside a blue keystone that can be found on products year-round at farmers markets, restaurants, food processors, grocery chains, craft breweries and wineries.
"Our dairy farm families spend nearly 85 percent of their income close to home and recognize the importance of supplying quality products," Greig said. "They are making a difference in their communities, and they're making a difference for Pennsylvania."
The GIANT brand PA Preferred™ milk is available in whole, 2 percent, 1 percent and skim in gallon and quart sizes. The milk is available at 156 retail locations in Pennsylvania and 44 locations in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.
"GIANT embraces our commitment to being a responsible retailer by offering our customers the widest selection of locally grown and produced products possible," Rick Herring, GIANT Food Stores president said. "Now when customers purchase milk in our stores, they can feel good about the role they are playing in helping to keep Pennsylvania agribusiness strong and supporting our local dairy farmers."
Dairy is the largest segment of Pennsylvania's agriculture industry, with milk contributing $2.3 billion to the state's economy. More than 7,200 dairy farm families manage 541,000 cows.
Pennsylvania produces 1.2 billion gallons, or 5.4 percent, of the nation's total supply of milk annually, ranking fifth nationally in milk production.
The Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program and dairy princesses will promote the industry at 90 GIANT Food Stores throughout Pennsylvania during June, which is Dairy Month.
"Pennsylvania milk comes from a good place," said Harold Shaulis, a Somerset County dairy producer and chair of the Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program. "When you drink this milk, you know it was produced by farmers who care for their cows and care about producing healthy, nutritious dairy foods for our friends and neighbors to enjoy."
GIANT offers a variety of PA Preferred™ products, including produce and dry goods and has been twice recognized for its leadership through the first-ever 2006 PA Preferred "Retailer of the Year" and 2008 Excellence in Agriculture Award presented by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
For more information, visit www.PAPreferred.com.
Media contact: Samantha Elliott Krepps, 717-787-5085
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture