Day 192–When Local is Not Local

Here in NC, we have an initiative called the NC 10% campaign. I’ve posted about this HERE. When we eat out or go shopping, I usually check the list of participants and make sure we purchase from businesses that have made a commitment to serving at least 10% of their food from local sources. I’ve also posted about NC-owned Lowes Foods (HERE) and how I wished they had more local produce. As though they were listening, Lowes Foods joined the NC 10% campaign and started a new initiative to sell more local produce. Yay, right?

This week I realized too late that the remaining tomato I had for BLT sandwiches had deteriorated into mush. What to do? I headed out to Lowes thinking surely this time of year, I could pick up a local tomato. I entered the store and found a huge bin with a sign that said “Local Tomatoes” and small print underneath that said “Grown in SC”. Well, I don’t really consider South Carolina to be local, but in a pinch I figured that’s not too bad. So I picked up a tomato. And I saw the sticker on it. The sticker said…

“Product of Mexico”

I picked up several more tomatoes thinking they were in the wrong bin or something.

“Product of Mexico”

The ALL were from Mexico. Ok, so maybe the sign was just in the wrong place. I looked at the next bin over.

“Product of Canada”.

For reals?

I talked to the young person working in produce. They did not care. I left.

We ended up having some leftovers for dinner instead. There are only a billion ripe tomatoes in North Carolina right now. Why on earth would I buy one that had to be shipped from Mexico.

And when you say you sell “local” produce, I would in fact think that it would come from this country. I love Mexico. Toured the pyramids, went to the beaches, drank beer by the pool. But I do not consider that to be local. I have a message for Lowes:

Local food is not a marketing strategy to sell your international tomatoes. Shame on you.

Leave a comment


  1. I feel your frustration. It’s similar when I shop at Whole Foods. Everywhere in the store it says local. “Support your farmer! Shop local.” Then as I start scanning through produce–grown in California or Mexico, even New Zealand. Yes, I know I will never find a local avocado in NY or its neighboring states, but even off season, if I can find root vegetables, greens and mushrooms at the local farmers markets, grown in NY or PA, Whole Foods can carry them too.

  2. That is awful my friend, I can’t believe people would sink so low as to pretend imported products were local!
    Shame on them indeed 😦
    You did the right thing by not buying them, that is ridiculous!

    Choc Chip Uru

  3. I have never understood why it’s cheaper to ship produce from Guatemala than it is to buy it from a farm down the road; even 100 miles down the road!!! Grocery stores are mostly lame. Harris Teeter does a pretty good job with local produce here, though. I hope you sent an angry email. I would have.

  4. I know of a couple restaurants that tout the whole farm to table thing, but I’ve found out it’s all a marketing scheme. Shame on them, indeed.

  5. Right on! The lack of local produce in big supermarkets is kinda ridiculous!


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