Local grocery stores cater to ‘locavores’
Markets cater to growing demand for food products made in Petaluma area
Published: Saturday, July 10, 2010 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 3:43 p.m.
As the “locavore” movement in Petaluma grows, so does the selection of locally made products at grocery stores in town.
Many stores sell local produce, cheeses, meats and other products. While some of these groceries seek out nearby companies and some have the companies come to them, the market for local products in Petaluma — with a rich agricultural and dairy background — is still going strong.
“Why would I want to buy milk that isn’t as fresh as something from right here in Petaluma?” said Petaluma resident Laura Bradley. Bradley said she shops mostly at G&G Supermarket because it is locally owned and offers products such as Clover Stornetta dairy products, Kozlowski Farms jams and Amy’s Kitchen frozen meals.
Dan Lyke, a local software developer, finds that Whole Foods, Petaluma Market and other stores offer local eggs, cheeses and other products to his liking. In addition to shopping at these stores, he goes to the farmers market and signed up for a weekly box of produce from Tara Firma and Green String farms.
Like many locavores, Lyke and Bradley buy local in order to reduce food production and shipping impacts on the environment, eat healthier and support the local economy.
“One of the things that impresses us about operations like Tara Firma and Green String is that, unlike the industrial agriculture places, we’re welcome to come out and see where our food comes from, tromp through the pastures and pet the future bacons and burgers,” said Lyke.
“In this age of who-knows-what going into our food, it’s quite refreshing to have farmers open their fields to us and say ‘we have no secrets,” he added.
Local grocers have taken note of shoppers’ interests and gone further to offer some local products of their own choosing.
Whole Foods Market makes a point of seeking out local companies and has several programs to do so, said spokesperson Melissa Mueller.
“It’s not just bringing them in, but really telling their story,” she said about companies. In the store, customers can read signs posted about many products that explain where and when the company started.
“We want to tell that story to our customers and let them decide what’s the best for them,” Mueller said.
The store also hosts monthly local vendor fairs and has an innovative loan program to help companies they want to sell in the store get off the ground or go organic. They offer products including Petaluma Poultry, Alvarado Street Bakery and Marin French Cheese.
G&G Supermarkets, which started in Sonoma County in 1963, has faced many similar challenges that local businesses have, said TeeJay Lowe, a G&G spokesperson. They offer Spring Hill Cheese, Franco American Bakeries bread and Redrum Spirits, among many others.
“We make a point to seek out local,” he said. “Local industries are strong here.”
Petaluma Market deals with local companies, including Barbara’s Bakery, McEvoy olive oil, Petaluma Creamery, Anderson organics and more, all denoted with “local” signs in the store.
“Pretty much every department has something local,” said Jamie Downing, grocery manager for the market.
Raley’s offers Pasta King, Full Circle bread, Petaluma Farms Eggs, Earthbound Organic Foods and others. They also have signs posted near products giving a biography of local companies.
Lucky’s also offers a large variety of local products in its stores, spanning through all departments, said a spokesperson.
(Contact Philip Riley at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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