A ‘theater on a plate’: More varieties of exotic fruits are popping up at local supermarkets

A.K. Khalid, produce assistant manager at Martin's Foods in Front Royal, sorts through a variety of exotic fruits inside the store. Rich Cooley/Daily

Those who frequent Martin’s Foods grocery stores throughout the Northern Shenandoah Valley may have noticed some unusual fruits in the fruit department.

Josh Geyer, produce category manager, said over the past few years Martin’s has stepped up its assortment and offerings of exotic fruits because popularity continues to grow nationwide.

“Summer is the time people notice the more unusual varieties we provide in-store,” Geyer said. “We continue to pay very close attention to our customers within the community and the products they really want. That’s why we continue to explore the world for the best possibilities and assortments of exotic fruits.”

From starfruit to jackfruit, Geyer said Martin’s goal is to make sure they have a designated area to allow customers to return to so they can continue to explore, learn about additional options, all while educating themselves on unique ways to create “theater on a plate.”

With over 10 types of exotic fruits, Geyer said there’s something for everyone’s taste buds.

“We know our customers are inspired by the world around them, especially by restaurants,” Geyer said. “The thought behind creating the ‘theater on a plate’ concept allows us to encourage our customers to try something maybe they haven’t before.”

Choosing exotic fruits for each store comes down to seasonal availability, trends and whether or not the fruit tells a story.

“Storytelling is so important. Not just to our customers but to our brand. It allows us to communicate with our customers,” Geyer said. “Oftentimes our shoppers are looking for something different because they want to break their routine and want something new and exciting in their meal.”

Chris Brand, director of external communications and community relations, said as a company Martin’s is encouraged by consumer input.

“We keep the door of communication always open,” Brand said. “That way we can help all customers. From the ones that love to cook to the ones that don’t.”

Both men agreed that over time Martin’s hopes to expand its assortment of exotic fruits. But until then, they’re excited about the wide assortment they now offer.

“Our Savory magazine is the perfect pick-up for any Martin’s shopper,” Brand said. “It provides a wide variety of information – includes recipes for many of the items we carry in-store.”

He added: “Take dragon fruit – customers can make smoothies, add the stone fruit to a salad or fruit tart with white chocolate. The possibilities can be endless.”   

“Food is a conversation starter,” Geyer said. “It’s what brings us together.”

On the net

To discover more recipes and learn about Martin’s selection of exotic fruits, visit: https://martinsfoods.com