Ask The Radish: Produce Edition
Throughout the year, we receive questions about our local growers and the produce we carry. These are some of our most popular ones with answers directly from us.
Q: Why does the price of produce fluctuate so much?
A: The price of produce tends to fluctuate due to where it’s sourced, how much of each variety is available, what the demand is, and when it’s in season. For example, asparagus isn’t in season in the winter, so to stock it in-store, it has to be shipped in from out of state. This costs more for the supplier and for our store, which means the price you see will also be higher than when asparagus is in season and sourced locally.
Q: How can I save money on produce?
A: The best ways to save big on produce are to buy it when it goes on sale through our Fresh Deals program, when it’s in season because supply is usually higher than demand, and when it’s locally-sourced because it doesn’t have to be shipped in.
Q: What is the co-op’s definition of “local” produce?
A: We define “local” as grown or produced anywhere in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, and Michigan.
Q: From how many local growers do you buy?
A: Throughout the year, we buy produce from between 20-30 local growers depending on how the season goes and what produce is available.
Q: When is local produce in season in Wisconsin?
A: It depends on the produce you want to buy, but most are harvested from early summer to late fall. For a complete list of the months local produce is in season, check out our guide on page #2 of our August/September newsletter or online here.
Q: Do you carry only organic produce?
A: Although we do focus on stocking mostly certified organic and local produce, we also carry conventional produce items as well.
Q: Why is buying fair trade produce important?
A: It’s important to buy produce labeled as fair trade, especially varieties sourced from outside of the United States, because this certification ensures that the farmers who grow it are paid a livable wage.
Q: Do you stock canning products for preserving produce?
A: Yes, we stock canning jars, vinegar, spices, pectin, and of course, produce. We also offer case discounts for owners so you can buy produce in larger quantities and save!
Have a question you’d like us to answer? Leave us a note on a comment card available in our front lobby or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our staff will reply as soon as soon as they can, and you may even see your question here in a future issue of our newsletter.
This article was originally published in the August/September 2020 issue of our bi-monthly newsletter, The Morsel. If you’d like to read more stories like this one and stay up to date on the latest co-op news and events, pick up a print copy in-store on your next grocery run or find more news on our website here.