Dear Grocery Retailers,
Please forgive me, I have been unfaithful.
For years, I have always turned to your supermarkets for my produce. I selected the bright leafy greens covered in droplets sitting under the stores’ misters. I have scoured through the farm-style wooden bins of apples, looking for the biggest, juiciest pieces of fruit I could find. When I was short on time, I scanned the shelves of organic packaged salads, looking for the most exciting combinations of greens and toppings. Earlier this year I purchased a juicer and my weekly produce purchases doubled, maybe tripled – juicing really is a “retailer’s trend.”
However, this summer season, I have strayed from the bright [LED] lights of your produce aisles. My roommate and I signed up for our NYC neighborhood’s CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. This means, for the next 6 months, we will receive a weekly “share” of fresh vegetables, locally grown from a regional farmer. Ours, specifically, come from a farm on eastern Long Island – Golden Earthworm Organic Farm. They are delivered to our community center every Thursday and we have a week until the next batch arrive to figure out how to best use them to fuel our bodies.
I have friends who have participated in such programs before and I was always intrigued. I could not resist the opportunity to see what goodies we could receive at [practically] our doorstep.
This week was our first delivery. It included: 1 bag of Lettuce Mix, 1 bag of Spinach, 1 bunch of Mustard Mix, 1 bunch of Radishes, 1 bunch of Collards, 1 bunch of Chive Blossoms, 1 bunch of Oregano, 1 bunch of Toscano Kale.
It arrived with that fresh out of the womb – ahem, garden – look and smell. We made a roommate pact to eat them before they go bad and come up with some yummy meal and juice recipes to share together.
Still, knowing that next time I walked into my local grocery store and walked past the leafy greens section without loading up my basket, I feel disloyal. Yet, it made me wonder, why don’t retailers jump on board?
Many supermarkets work with its region’s farmers to offer “locally grown” produce during its season. I have seen farmer’s market displays, picnic tables with wicker baskets shadowed by a chalkboard sign, in a number of supermarkets in both NYC neighborhoods and some of the surrounding counties.
People want local; you guys give them local.
People also want “local” delivered; they want to know the specific farm its coming from and that they will get something fresh from the garden each week.
Retailers… you guys are in the business of food. Why not supported a local vegetable share program at your stores? It will keep your customers who want to join such programs, and those that might have gone elsewhere, IN your stores. Just a thought.
I happen to love shopping at my local grocery store. The lighting is ambient, the crowds light, the options plentiful. But without the option to sign up for a local veggie share in-store, my product purchases will be light.
I apologize for my infidelity, but don’t sorry, I still need to satisfy my out-of-control cheese obsession.