“It’s better across the board,” he said. “Not only saving costs on freight, you also don’t burn as much fuel, there’s less wear on tires, and a smaller carbon footprint. That’s the future of our business.”
St. Louis-based retailer William A. Straub was sourcing locally grown peaches, tomatoes, sweet corn, cucumbers, summer squash, blackberries, blueberries and other fruits and vegetables this summer, said Greg Lehr, produce category specialist.
By the second half of July retailer Dierbergs Markets Inc. had up to 25 locally grown items featured in lobby displays in all 25 of its stores, said Steve Duello, produce category manager.
“After a slow start, we’re up and running,” he said. “Spring was a little cool, and we had a lot of rain.”
For two months out of the year, Dierbergs leans heavily on local.
“In July and August, it’s a big deal for us,” Duello said. “It continues to be a popular thing with our customers.”
With 25 stores, Dierbergs is a good fit for locally grown, though it’s still a challenge even for Dierbergs to find growers big enough to meet demand.
“The bigger you get, the harder it gets,” he said. “We’re the right size company for it.”