I’ve written recently about the growing trend of Calgary-area grocery and convenience stores selling a variety of locally produced foods. Now, Sunterra Market has taken things a step further with the introduction of superb strawberries grown locally in the dead of Alberta winter.
Actually, the provincial grocer aims to produce its Dutchess strawberries year round in greenhouses on the company’s farms near Acme in central Alberta. Unlike strawberries grown in, say, southern California or Mexico and picked when wooden and insipid tasting for their long journey to Canada, the Dutchess varieties are vine ripened and shipped to Sunterra outlets within a day of being hand picked.
Yes, they cost a little more than their industrial competitors. But one bite into these bursts of flavour, and you’ll never go back.
Let’s add up the advantages. Great flavour, locally produced, drastically reduced transportation emissions. I think we have a winner.
The Dutchess strawberries, like Sunterra’s pork products, are the latest instance of the company’s vertical integration; i.e. they control the entire process from farm to grocery shelves. Another recent example is vine-ripened tomatoes grown in Sunterra greenhouses.
Sunterra’s nine Alberta grocery stores are also offering local veggies—like fabulous heads of lettuce from other local producers like Lyalta Gardens and Clearwater Ridge.
Promoting locally produced foods is hardly a new idea, witness the long-standing farm-to-fork and 100-mile diet movements. But given all the global disruptions from the pandemic to war in Ukraine, I foresee a much greater preference for buying local, whether it’s smart phones or vine-ripened strawberries.
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