One of the things Arizonans can do to show their appreciation for the farmers and ranchers that work hard all year round to provide fresh, locally grown produce, meats, and dairy products is to commit to purchasing local whenever possible. To many people, this generally equates to purchasing these items from a local farm stand or farmer’s market. But a new survey conducted by Supermarket News shows that it may be easier than ever to buy locally from wherever it is that you choose to shop.
According to the Supermarket News 2014 Health and Wellness Survey, around 85% of retail supermarkets use local products to populate their shelves. The most commonly featured locally grown items are produce and flowers. This is good news for consumers because it means you can make conscious choices to buy locally even on days when the farmers’ market in your town isn’t open.
Another place you can find locally grown produce, meat, eggs, and dairy products is from farms that sell direct to market. There are more than 150 direct-market farmers and ranchers listed on Fill Your Plate. When you combine direct-market sellers, local grocery stores, farm stands, and farmers’ markets, it is easy to see that fresh, healthy, locally grown Arizona products are accessible all around you.
To help you find these great home-grown products, here are some tips to help you find locally grown products wherever you shop.
1. The Meat Counter
According to the Arizona Beef Council, more than half of the beef sold at grocery store meat counters across the state is locally raised Arizona beef.
2. The Milk Cooler
When you purchase a gallon of milk, no matter where you are, you are more than likely purchasing milk from cows raised right here at home. Around 98% of the liquid milk sold in the state is from local providers.
3. The Egg Section
Whenever you buy eggs, look for the Hickman’s brand, the largest egg provider in the state.
4. The Produce Section
While some stores will market local produce specifically using signs or tags that indicate where in the state it came from, don’t assume that products that aren’t marketed this way came from somewhere else. Not all stores highlight local products. The best way to figure out which fruits and vegetables are locally grown is to ask the produce manager. They can usually provide information on where their locally grown produce products came from and may even be able to tell you how long a product has been in transit.
If you are ever in doubt about whether or not your local grocery store carries locally grown or raised products, ask. If you find that many of the products you would prefer to purchase from local providers are not available in your local store, talk to the manager. Customer demand is one of the driving factors behind each stores commitment to local sourcing.
- Ask a Farmer: Should We Get Away From Industrial Farming and Back to the Family Farm? (fillyourplate.org)
- Arizona Food Prices are Up Slightly in the First Quarter of 2014 (fillyourplate.org)
- Arizona Food Prices are Up 6% in the Third Quarter of 2013 (fillyourplate.org)