Leeks account for less than 0.1% of all produce sales. That doesn’t mean they can’t add sales to your bottom line. Leeks, however, tend to attract a more gourmet type of cook to your department, which may bring in higher sales of other specialty items.
- Leeks offer several health benefits. They can help lower cholesterol and fight cancer. Leeks contain nutrients that help protect blood vessels from damage. They also contain vitamin C, which is a known cancer fighter. Leeks contain lutein, which is important for healthy eyes.
- 3.5-oz. serving of leeks contains 52 calories and 30% of the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamin C.
- Leeks are usually used to add flavor to other dishes, so cross-merchandise them with fish, broth and soup vegetables.
- Leeks are available year-round. Add them to promotions throughout the year.
- Fall: Include leeks in soup displays as the days get shorter and cooler. They add an oniony flavor to soups without the pungency of onions.
- Winter: Promote leeks during Chinese New Year promotions. They add flavor and texture to stir-fry dishes.
- Spring: Encourage consumers to buy leeks and add them to salads.
- Summer: Leeks are a perfect complement to grilled fish. Promote them with seafood and encourage consumers to grill them in foil packets with salmon or cod.
- Leeks have a unique shape in the produce department. They can be displayed horizontally or vertically to create a striking, eye-catching display.
- Remove the outer skin of the bulb so that all your leeks present a clean, white surface to the consumer.
- Place leeks next to brightly colored vegetables like tomatoes, carrots or summer squash to create an eye-popping color contrast.
- Many consumers are unfamiliar with leeks, so offer preparation tips and recipes for those who don’t know how to use them. Inform consumers that leeks trap dirt, so be sure to wash them well before using.
- Add leeks to soups, stews and chowders. They add an onion-like flavor.
- Clean leeks well before using as dirt gets trapped in the leaves. Let leeks stand in cool water for 10 to 15 minutes to release the grit.
- Leeks offer a milder flavor than onions. They can be substituted for onions in any recipe.
- Add leeks to salads and salad bars.
In The Backroom
30-lb. cartons, 12 bunches 24- to 30-lb. cartons, 24 bunches 20-lb. 4⁄5-bushel cartons/crates, bunched 10-lb. cartons, 10 1-lb. film bags Leeks are generally packed in layers of ice. RPC 6419, 6428
Temperature: 32 F, 0 C Relative humidity: 95-100% Mist: yes Typical shelf life: 7 to 21 days Odor producer (Do not store or transport odor-sensitive items with commodities that produce odors. Leeks produce odors that will be absorbed by figs and grapes.) Crates should be stacked so they will have sufficient air circulation and to keep temperatures at the top and bottom as equal as possible. Slight bruising of the tops is normal.