To meet demands, Conforti said the company added a local berry program this year, but demand still exceeds supply.
Another regional supplier, Associated Wholesale Grocers, Kansas City, Kan., is receiving more requests for more local produce from its member retailers and other customers, said Gary Myracle, executive director for produce field procurement.
Myracle said AWG has added growers in southeast Missouri in response to those demands. Those growers should take some of the pressure off, especially when new federal rules for commercial truck drivers are considered, Myracle said.
Less transportation requiring less fuel is one of the appealing aspects consumers often cite when asked about why they want local produce, and Myracle said shorter driving times required by new hours-of-service rules for truckers play into that.
The shorter driving time adds a transportation day for produce making the trip from the West Coast, he said.