CAMP HILL, Pa. — Weis Markets here has introduced Pennsylvania Proud Choice Angus Beef, one of the first locally raised beef brands offered by a supermarket chain.
“It's been a steady evolution,” a Weis company spokesman told SN. “We've always bought local. We not only bought from Pennsylvania farmers, they were our customers and this continues through today.”
This is also the first branded Pennsylvania Angus program. The Pennsylvania Proud Choice Angus Beef will be available in 23 stores and will complement the retailer's existing beef program, Weis Steakhouse Angus.
The chain's Camp Hill Store hosted the introduction of Pennsylvania Angus at an event attended by Dennis Wolff, Pennsylvania's agriculture secretary; Norman S. Rich, Weis Markets' chief executive officer; David J. Hepfinger, president and chief of operations; representatives from the Pennsylvania Beef Council; and local Pennsylvania Angus producers.
“Buying local is one of the hottest trends in food today, but it's been a hot trend for us since 1912,” Rich said in a release. “Pennsylvania has a vibrant agricultural economy known for its quality. Last year alone, we purchased more than 19 million pounds of produce from local Pennsylvania producers.
“Our Pennsylvania Proud Choice Angus Beef is the logical extension of our commitment to buying and selling Pennsylvania's best products.”
Pennsylvania Proud Choice Angus Beef is grain-fed, hand-carved and aged a minimum of 20 days. The program features a full line of roasts, steaks, tenderloins and ground beef. The cattle are supplied by farms in Lancaster, Schuylkill and Chester counties.
At the launch, Weis Markets celebrated its Pennsylvania heritage and highlighted its commitment to the Pennsylvania Preferred program, which promotes food made or processed in the state, with samplings of its Pennsylvania Proud Choice Angus Beef and of products from local companies, including Wilbur Chocolates, Utz, Tom Sturgis, Berks Packing Co., Country Fresh Mushrooms, Penn Cheese, John F. Martin and Sons, and Pellman Foods, along with potatoes supplied by the PA Potato Co-op.
Weis Markets has long been involved in various Pennsylvania Preferred local programs, including its Simply Delicious produce program and its subsequent PA Preferred program, which includes all food products processed or manufactured in the state, according to a Weis Markets spokesman.
“We're a PA Preferred customer, and we're PA Preferred program participant, since we process our own milk and package our own ice cream,” he said, adding that during the local produce season, signs provided by PA Preferred are prominently placed on local produce displays at Weis stores.
“If you drive through parts of Pennsylvania, the rural areas and the small and midsize towns, you come across smaller butcher shops offering a lot of great local product. We wanted to do the same on a larger scale and started to develop our Pennsylvania Proud program. We reached out to the Pennsylvania Beef Council, [which] proved very helpful. The result is our Pennsylvania Proud Choice Angus Beef program.”