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Aug 14, 2010 05:47 PM

Does Whole Foods take "Locally Grown" seriously? [moved from Boston]

Do watermelons need to be trucked here from Maryland? I'm not sure. Cantaloupes all the way from California? Maybe? Apples from all over the place? Probably not. Pears from Washington when they grow in my backyard in Cambridge. I mean, other than a CSA share are we fighting a losing battle? Not that other markets are better...

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  1. is this a rhetorical question? whole paycheck is not a single store with a nice guy buying from local farmers and fishermen. it's a giant national chain...

    we have a csa from world peas. we do what we can.

    1. The best thing you can do is get a CSA share (we get ours from Heirloom Harvest) and not buy the items that are from too far away. If they don't sell well, the incentive to carry them goes down. That being said, are you prepared to do without, say, avocados, which do not grow in New England? Or without lettuce during winter months, that is brought in from California? We do the best we can.....e.g. I won't eat apples in the summer from Chile; I wait until fall when they are local and go pick my own when I can.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Science Chick

        lemons, limes, tangerines? saffron? lol. i do not buy strawberries in january, frequent farmer's markets right now and do what i can.

      2. Whole Foods takes local food no more seriously than Market Basket, Shaws and Stop&Shop. Why would they? They're a national conglomerate just like the other ones.
        If you're growing pears in your back yard in Cambridge, why would you be concerned with where they come from before Whole Foods sells them?
        I don't think we're fighting a losing battle when we purchase locally. If you like the produce or meats from a local farm than you should support that farm by purchasing their products so they're able to stay in business.

        2 Replies
        1. re: FastTalkingHighTrousers

          Whole Foodsw Markets started the "Support Local Farmers" campaign ONLY after the public arguement between John Mackey (CEO WF) and Michael
          Pollan, the author of" Omnivore's Dilemma". As with most marketing campaigns, it is, in my opinion, just overblown, meaningless, flag waving.

          1. re: ospreycove

            Well, they do carry local fruits and veggies in the summer months, as well as loads of non-local stuff. That's still a bit more than I can say for the other grocery chains.

          1. To eat locally is to eat seasonally. It's much easier in the summer, and farmstands, farmers markets (and the planned Public Market in Boston) are designed specifically to provide locally grown and raised food. Plus, there are the occasional produce markets, such as Russo's, that provide an outlet for local produce to complement their regular offerings. Finally, there are CSAs, though it is sometimes hard to find one that offers the right amount of what one's household consumes with pick-ups that fit schedule and travel constraints.

            Whole Foods used to do a much better job of carrying real local food, especially when it was Bread and Circus. However, the marketplace has evolved and Whole Foods has become huge and subject to the pressures that any large publicly-traded company must contend with; at this point even if they really wanted to provide a significant amount of locally raised food (local meaning within 100 miles or so, not the several hundred that WF seems to use now), they probably could not make a good business case for it.