Can Safeway market produce from California be considered local?
Last week, Safeway started boasting in its NE Broadway store that it was now supplying LOCALLY GROWN fruit. A poster showed where the farms in Oregon were. They even added special “I’m Local!” tags on one fruit display.
But the fruit next to those tags were plums and peaches – each had a sticker on them saying they came from California.
Two days later those “I’m local” tags were gone, replaced with larger labels sitting a bit lower, still boasting, “locally grown.” Still not true. Same fruit. Same California tags. Only the cherries at the top of the display were locally grown. A friend of mine carried a plum and a peach to the customer service desk and waited 5 minutes to talk to a “Supervisor.” She didn’t know anything, and just said something about “corporate came in and changed the signs last night.” After he complained to the store and to the corporation via the web, the “I’m Local” cards disappeared. But the big “Locally Grown” stickers remained. A quick check of the new Safeway in the Pearl District showed the same issue.
It’s great if another major chain starts supporting local farms, but this isn’t a great start. I’d be happy to argue with anyone who would claim that California grown produce is local.