While all politics may be local, produce touted as local may not be. As Sarah Pinneo notes in her Boston Globe article today – “locavore” – one who eats foods grown locally whenever possible – was named word of the year back in 2007. Farmers loved the trend – large supermarkets not so much. So an on-going tug-of-war over what constitutes “local” produce continues. Local farmer Dave Dumaresq – farmer Dave to we locals in Dracut, Tewksbury and Greater Lowell localities, report that the cachet of “local” has the supermarkets stretching the reality of what’s local even if it really means locally washed! Farmer Dave and other farmers also report having their locally produced blueberries, bell peppers, lettuce and the like – bought-up by the supermarkets only to have the locally-growth produce displayed under the banner “Fresh – Locally Grown Produce” alongside or below produce shipped in from New Jersey and elsewhere.
Dumaresq tells of a similar experience he had with bell peppers. “I used to sell to a chain supermarket which had a big display right inside the door” with a banner that read “Fresh, Locally Grown Produce” and his vegetables on a shelf underneath. “Each store would usually buy one or two boxes of most of the items that I had available that week,” he says. Behind those displays there would be more peppers, a lot of them from farther away, but it wasn’t clear that the banner was referring to only certain produce. “They weren’t exactly lying,” he says. But now, because he doesn’t have to, he doesn’t sell to that chain.
Read the full Boston Globe article here and learn more about the various definitions for “locally grown produce” and about the CSAs – Community Supported Agriculture – programs in your area and how you can support, participate and be a share holder. Also, check out the local Community Teamwork, Inc program – World PEAS Cooperative – New Entry Sustainable Farming Project here. Look for the highly successful CTI Local Farmers’ Market to open in late June 2011.