ESCANABA - Elmer's County Market will be joining forces with Gov. Rick Snyder, the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development, Michigan Grocers Association, United Dairy Industry of Michigan, and local groups Thursday to promote the Pure Michigan Fit program.
"We were approached by the United Dairy Industry of Michigan to be one of the six grocery stores in Michigan - and the only one in the U.P. - to introduce the Pure Michigan FIT Program," said Rod Stende, general manager of Elmer's County Market.
Pure Michigan Fit is a program that Snyder unveiled in June. It initially focuses on children form birth to age 5 to establish healthy habits. Grocery stores and health and fitness groups across the state are working together through the program to curb the rate of obesity in Michigan.
The event at Elmer's will be the second of a series of events at retail stores across the state. The majority of the in-store events will occur between 10 a.m. and noon.
A brief press conference will occur at 10 a.m. in the front of the store with Jamie Clover Adams, the director to the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development.
Following the press conference, four activity stations will open throughout the store. "Stations will be set up in our produce department with things like chocolate milk smoothie samples," said Stende.
One station will be focused on promoting chocolate milk as nature's sports drink after physical activity. Former Detroit Lion Luther Ellis will be signing autographs and Jilbert's Dairy will be giving out samples of Choco-Berry Swirl Smoothies. Unlike the other stations, this station will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Jilbert's Dairy will also offer a price break on chocolate milk for shoppers. "Jilbert's Dairy has been very helpful. They're excited about this too so they're being very cooperative," said Stende.
Another activity station will be a fruit and veggie challenge, where kids will try to identify fruits and vegetables placed in bags by touch. Kids will then be taught about the nutritional benefits of the fruits and vegetables they identify.
Children and parents will receive nutrition tips and snack ideas as well as tips on reading labels at another station.
"The Northern Lights YMCA will be there also talking about and doing some fitness activities with the kids," said Stende. This station will be located under the canopy outside the store.
Elmer's County Market is located at 412 North Lincoln Road.