Push For Local Produce As Prices Rise

By: Garrett Wymer Email
By: Garrett Wymer Email

This Wall Street Journal graphic shows just how much produce prices may rise.


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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) -- As vegetable prices rise nationwide, buying local may now be your best bet.

In Staunton and Verona, now that it's spring, customers flock to the farmers markets and swear by their source for fresh food.

"So maybe you might pay a little more per pound, but you get much more for that pound, really," said Douglas MacTavish, a North Augusta Farmers' Market customer.

But that price gap could be closing due to a three-year drought in California that's causing veggie prices to sky-rocket. With prices for produce going up in grocery stores across the country, even with a tough winter in Virginia and produce off to a bit of a slow start, farmers say now is the time to buy local.

"Yeah, if you really go now and check the supermarkets, compared to what you find at the farmers markets, you'll find we're really very competitive with the price range," said John Oakes with Oakhill Greenhouses.

Beyond just the price tag, shoppers like MacTavish said buying local now is also a boost to the neighborhood economy.

"It's an important part of what we do, because small family farmers are a dying breed. We need, in an area that's very rural like this, to support them," said MacTavish.

Analysts say the impact of the California drought is so strong because the Golden State is the country's leading producer of many popular fruits and vegetables.

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