Brent Finnegan -- November 10th, 2010
Last month Wal-Mart announced a new initiative to stock more locally-grown produce in their U.S. stores.
The program is intended to put more locally grown food in Wal-Mart stores in the United States, invest in training and infrastructure for small and medium-size farmers, particularly in emerging markets, and begin to measure how efficiently large suppliers grow and get their produce into stores. (NYT)
This is a move Wal-Mart has been touting for at least two years. In 2008, I wrote, “The company is attempting to change their image by trying to appeal to environmentalists and locavores by selling local produce in their Supercenters.”
Wednesday, Patrick Cooley reported in the Daily News-Record that at least one producer in Timberville has been selling apples to Wal-Mart for almost a decade.
Jaime Williams, Turkey Knob’s president, said selling to Wal-Mart appeals more to larger and midsized operations like his.
“We grow a million bushels [of apples] a year,” he said. “If I was growing 10,000 bushels a year, I wouldn’t be knocking on any retailer’s door. I would be trying to sell them directly to the customers.”
Farmers markets are more appealing to farmers with smaller operations, Williams said.
Turkey Knob just started growing peaches, he said, but because it doesn’t grow enough to sell them in bulk, the company likely will sell them directly to consumers.
If the announcement turns out to be more than a PR stunt, would it entice you to shop there if you don’t already?