I went grocery shopping yesterday, and I was happy to see a focus on local foods. Even before I stepped foot into my local Wegmans, I saw the sign you see at the left here. Local Day Boat Scallops for $12.99 a pound in the seafood section. I quickly whipped out my iPhone’s Seafood Watch app and discovered that wild caught sea scallop population off the Atlantic Coast is “currently considered healthy and abundant.” They are considered a “good alternative” if “best choice” farmed bay scallops are unavailable.

Before I even entered the main section of the store, I was hit by another sign of local – strawberries. A big Jersey Fresh sign on the wall accompanied by a cart of local strawberries for $3.99 a pint greeted shoppers as they entered.

These are the first strawberries of the season. In fact, I was surprised to see them so early at the grocery store. My local farmers market had a small supply last weekend, but the stores usually don’t carry local strawberries until the later half of May. I have heard that several farms have begun growing hothouse strawberries to meet the demand for local strawberries and extend the season. This could be the reason for the local strawberries showing up a week or two before normal.

Only a few more feet into the store and smack dab, front and center in the produce department was a large display of Jersey Fresh asparagus accompanied by lemons and garlic so shoppers didn’t need to scrounge around for the perfect complements to the abundant asparagus.

Of course, a few more steps into the store and there were plenty of fruits and vegetables that were not local or ever could be local — bananas, oranges, mangos, kiwi … but, it was interesting to see local foods so prominently displayed. I think it says something about the value consumers are placing on local foods. A store like Wegmans isn’t going to prominently display local foods unless they know customers are highly interested in them.

Have you seen an increase in the prominence or the amount of local foods found at your mainstream grocery store lately?

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Local foods front and center at grocery store
The focus is put on the small amount of local food among the non-local.