I just received the
regular weekend grocery store ads, and they are full of berry specials. That’s
great, because I am extremely fond of fresh berries in season. Pat and I have already had cherries from
Niagara, local blueberries, local raspberries and local strawberries, and this
year they are remarkable. We bought some
from farmers at the Kitchener Farmers’ Market and plan to go back for more.
You have to be careful,
though, even at the market. The stall with the lowest price for strawberries
this past Saturday was featuring imported strawberries. This ticked me off. I go to the market not
just to get berries that are picked ripe that morning, but also to patronize
local farmers – not some vender who imports his fruit from the United
States. Our farmers need our business,
just as we need their produce.
A glance at the
weekend ads is equally troubling. Surely Sobeys, Zehrs, Valu-mart, Price Chopper, Food Basics, etc, would do
well to support our local farmers – who are, after all, their customers also —
yet this weekend the specials feature berries clearly marked “produce of
U.S.A.” If I wanted U.S. berries I’d
shop at Wal-Mart.
The big Canadian
grocers guarantee freshness; but then, freshness does not mean ripeness. We’ve
sampled imported strawberries that are as big as plums, a beautiful red, and
even have that enticing strawberry fragrance, yet they have almost no flavour. Local
berries are fresher than imported, as they are picked closer to when they
appear on the shelves, and they are also
riper. The flavour difference is like night and day. But if the chains continue
to buy American and ignore local growers, how long can we count on having those
luscious just-picked berries?
Yesterday our local
Valu-mart particularly annoyed me. In the produce section there was a bin with
signs promoting Canadian strawberries — but the label on the plastic containers of strawberries stated “produce
of the U.S.A”! I didn’t buy any.