Adventures in cooking sustainably, healthfully, and locally

Until Dave puts the kybosh on it anyway.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sprout's Update

Sprout's email response to my plea for equal representation for local foods:

Hello Lori,

Thank you for your inquiry! Regarding our local produce items, the bulk of our produce in Colorado does come to us from local areas when available to us. We label our produce with USA grown rather than each small town where it comes from due to our quick turnaround in products. Broccoli could be from one small town one day and the next shipment could come from another. It is also tricky to label products as local as the definition of "What is local" varies from store to store, and person to person.

Unfortunately, we are not always able to carry local produce year round due to customer demand vs. supply in those areas, as well as the fact that those items are not always available to us year round due to seasonal changes. Being able to offer produce from both local areas, as well as from around the world allows us to offer a large selection of produce items that may not always be available in the US year round.

We do also carry an array of local Colorado items throughout our stores as well anywhere from our dairy to grocery, and beyond.

I hope this helps! Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.


Raechell Brown

All in all: fair response. I can understand the rationale behind wanting to provide a variety of products to a fickle species with not much consistency in wants. I am not one to deny anyone a banana from South America nor an apple from New Zealand (although I still think that is a bit far to go for an apple...don't you?).

Still, I had to press the issue a bit more (as well as put in a minor complaint about other signage):

Hello Raechell,

Thank you for your response and information.

I'm wondering if the company could start doing some simple signage to help people like me recognize Colorado food. Like by the broccoli sign have a sticker that says "Colorado Grown".

Or are you saying that, depending on deliveries and such, a bunch of potatoes could be from Colorado AND another state? I wouldn't need exact towns, just the state to start. I'm proud to buy USA, of course, but trying to eat more local requires a bit more scrutiny.

On a completely different side note, for the people who don't know what an endive is or what kale looks like: the signage at my Sprouts makes it hard to determine what is what on the top shelve of the produce areas. Along the top of the produce section there are usually 6 different signs for pricing on certain items, but they don't seem to "go" with the produce underneath it. Does that make sense? Is there any way to get signs
and prices right next to the produce? I can take a picture if you need to, in case I'm not explaining it right.

I can say that this has prevented me from trying new items because I don't like to not know the names of things.

Also, I wanted to suggest a local vendor here that can supply local flour and local beet sugar; I haven't been able to find these products anywhere else and I know the owner is on the prowl for some retail outlets for her products.

I personally have nothing vested in the company, but I'd definitely buy it at my Sprouts if only to save me the time to drive into Denver to buy my flour and sugar.

Anyway, thank you for your time. I appreciate it.

After re-reading my email to Raechell above, I noticed I misspelled a couple of words and my excuse for wanting more precise and accurate signage above produce came off as weak. Because "I don't like to not know the names of things?"

Seriously? I couldn't come up with something better than that? Well I didn't want to come out and say that it annoys me (yes, I'm that anal about pricing and signage) that if I don't know what in the world I'm holding, be it a beet or a jerusalem artichoke, I just won't buy it. Does that make sense? Or does that make me sound even more lame?

Well tough nuts! I may be lame, but at least I'll know the names of my veggies. So there.


  1. Good for you!!! There is a store in Wisconsin called Festival Foods and they put by some of their produce where it came from. Not state wise but country. Like USA, Canada,etc. At least at that store you can try and buy from our own country. Anyways, keep us up to date with all your kernals of information.

  2. Actually, all grocery stores should have the country label on a placard, sign, sticker, band,
    twist tie, or pin tag. It's the law.

    Country Of Origin Labeling

  3. Thanks for the link! I didn't know it was the law. I *think* Sprouts does it, but as noted above the signage is confusing.

    And for me, I'd love something a little more specific than "Made In USA." Don't get me wrong: buying in the USA is more local than the New Zealand apples on the shelves these days.

    Baby steps! :)