High fuel costs increase demand for locally grown - The Packer

High fuel costs increase demand for locally grown

03/26/2012 08:36:00 AM
Andy Nelson

Steven Piazza, president and treasurer of Everett, Mass.-based Community-Suffolk Inc., reports a small uptick in demand for the company’s locally grown summer vegetables.

Massachusetts-grown sweet corn is one popular item.

But the big draw — and one that may stretch the definition of “local” to include “regional” — is Quebec, which produces most of Community-Suffolk’s core vegetable items (the company specializes in carrots, onions, potatoes, celery, broccoli and lettuce), mainly in August and September.

“We do a tremendous amount of business from Quebec,” he said. “It’s a very nice deal. It grows every year.”

As for other locally grown deals closer to home, Piazza said those are better tailored to smaller, specialty houses on the New England Produce Center and the Boston Market Terminal.

High fuel costs this summer will likely drive up demand for locally grown produce in the Boston area, agrees Ken Cavallaro, treasurer of Chelsea-based John Cerasuolo Co. Inc.

Peppers, cucumbers, squash, beans, eggplant and tomatoes are among the summer vegetables Cerasuolo sources from New England and upstate New York, Cavallaro said.

Because of its particular mix of offerings, the only locally grown produce sourced by Chelsea-based Travers Fruit Co. on a consistent basis is summer blueberries from New Jersey, said Richie Travers, the company’s secretary and treasurer.

Grapes, berries, pineapples and other fruits are among the company’s staples.

“In general it doesn’t fit in with our repertoire,” he said.

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