August 22, 2015

Move over, "Where's the Beef?" lady. Wendy's has a new slogan in town.

Wendy's: Home of the Baconator and future home of all the blackberries. Photo: Lester Cohen/Getty Images for Wendy'sThe Wall Street Journal ran a story this week chronicling the uphill battle fast food restaurants are facing in the race to provide more fresh produce items to an ever more food-conscious consumer. With the emergence of "fast-casual" establishments such as Chipotle or Panera, whose impetus for success revolves around giving customers fresh, organic menu items, Wendy's is having to think up new ways to stay in the game.

Enter the blackberry. For the last three years, Wendy's has been working with farmers throughout the country to amass enough blackberries to use as a seasonal salad accoutrement on next summer's menu. How many blackberries, you ask? Try 2 million pounds.

Grow faster, little blackberries. Wendy needs you. Photo: DeAgostini/Getty ImagesThree years might seem like a long gestation period to birth a new menu item, but my Fauna App let me know that time frame was necessary. And when I say "Fauna App," I mean I called my father, Neil Moore, lifelong horticulturist and owner of Plant the Earth Garden Center in Meridian, MS.

"Blackberries are easy to grow, but they don't bear fruit until the second year," according to Neil. "You can't plant anything that bears fruit and expect a high yield that year, or even the next. And 2 million pounds is a lot of berries."

As consumers continue to demand more and more fresh produce in their diets, expect to see other fast food chains follow Wendy's lead and plan ahead to maintain their bottom lines.

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