Purple sprouting broccoli research

April 14, 2017

Re: Letter of commitment to participate in the project: Production, economics, and marketing of purple sprouting broccoli

Dear WSDA Specialty Crops Review Committee:

I am writing on behalf of PCC Natural Markets to express our support for the project, Production, economics, and marketing of purple sprouting broccoli and our willingness to participate in the market expansion and promotion activities. We are excited to collaborate with Organic Seed Alliance on marketing and promotion of purple sprouting broccoli by hosting and participating in focus sessions, hosting in-store tasting and product demonstrations, and supporting social media and press promotion. We are willing to commit to an in-kind donation valued at $1,000/year of meeting space room and market support.

PCC Natural Markets is a Seattle-area cooperative retailer with 58,000 member-owners. Our 11 stores serve hundreds of thousands of shoppers each year, with sales totaling more than $250 million annually. Partnering with local, organic farmers is central to who we are as a cooperative. Ninety-five percent of the produce we sell is organic, sourced from as many local farmers as possible.

Winter fields in the Northwest generally offer little to eat, so we’ve been delighted with OSA’s breeding work focused on winter season extension. The progress OSA has made in breeding tender, sweet purple sprouting broccoli is a game-changer for retailers like ours, who are looking to offer winter-weary shoppers something bright and flavorful to look forward to in early spring. Of course, we also fully support the development of any crop like purple sprouting broccoli that can give our local, organic farmers a market advantage.

We’ve seen significant growth and interest in purple sprouting broccoli over the past several years and believe further investments in research, breeding, and marketing will propel this crop into the mainstream marketplace as a desirable and sought-after spring delicacy. We currently find it challenging, however, to source a consistent supply of purple sprouting broccoli for a long enough time window in order to catch consumers’ interest, engage them to try something new, and still have product for them to come back to next time they visit a PCC store.

We recently began to work with Organic Seed Alliance and are excited to have the opportunity to expand our collaboration with OSA through this project. We believe this crop has the potential to be of strong interest to our customers and are happy to have another local crop to feature in our stores and strengthen our support of our local growers here in the Pacific Northwest. We sincerely hope that the WSDA will select this project for funding.

Sincerely,

Eli Penberthy

PCC Natural Markets
Seattle, WA

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