Natural grocer Alfalfa’s Market, with three stores in the Boulder, Colo., area, isn’t just selling produce, it’s “selling beauty,” says Director of Produce Claris Ritter.

Key to that is the retailer’s commitment to offering a full line of high-quality, organic produce, when available, in addition to carrying products from local farms. “With the extreme competitive nature of the grocery business, particularly in the markets we are in, having a full line of organic is something no one else does,” Ritter says.

And full, eye-catching displays created by Alfalfa’s team of produce merchandisers add to the department’s allure as well. “One of the crown jewels in our produce departments is our wet rack. The design of the set matters greatly, with breaks of color and texture strategically placed, melodic rows of bunched roots, perfectly trimmed butts of leaf lettuce and striped in specialty greens,” Ritter says. “Choosing produce is an emotional decision and beauty and order help increase impulse buys.”

And unique to Alfalfa’s third location in Longmont, which opened in October 2020, is a Produce Lab, where Alfalfa’s moves the prep work that normally took place behind closed doors to center stage. “Much like watching a pizza chef toss dough in New York pie shops, this is culinary theater where produce is the star,” Ritter says. Post-COVID the Produce Lab will be an opportunity for Alfalfa’s produce specialists to interact with customers and offer samples of seasonal offerings, she says.