I would say that the majority of the time, buying local does taste better. It also has a lot less mileage, perhaps fewer chemicals, and/or less processing. Cool, I like that! And I normally am a huge supporter of local farms, farmers markets, and locally stocked stores (one of my favorite farms is Polyface Farm, fav. grocery store is C’ville Market, and of course the City Market, all in Charlottesville, Virginia).
But grocery shopping here in France can be somewhat depressing, especially when I’ve been mainly exposed to the hyper-marchés like Carrefour. Not to say that we don’t have hyper-markets in the US – we do and I’m pretty sure America invented those horrible things (aka Walmart, Kmart, Food Lion, Giant; even the names convey “We’re big and we like it!”) – but, when you arrive in France, you kind of expect to have grocery stores to go along with the stereotype of amazing French food. Right? No, wrong!
And what does “local” food consist of in my Carrefour? Fruit from Corsica. I love Corsica and, even though Corsica is on the other side of the country, that’s more local than the other stuff there. They had some delicious Corsican clementines last fall and now they are offering an abundance of grapefruit. I’ll take a few of those, thanks!
I’ve now eaten two Corsican grapefruits and feel even more depressed. They are not very juicy and they hurt my stomach a bit. I have previously bought Florida grapefruit from the Monoprix (where I hate to shop because: 1) it’s expensive, 2) it’s expensive, 3) their fresh foods selection is despicable). And the Florida grapefruit was WAYYYY better (go Florida citrus!).
You think that the Corsican grapefruit would be logically a bit better due to it’s shorter travel distance, compared to it’s Florida friend who probably has some sort of United Airlines Frequent Flyer Miles, and perhaps a shorter storage duration than the Florida grapefruit. But noooooo. The Florida grapefruit wins here. I like supporting the Florida citrus business, so I guess that’s alright. But I’d still much prefer to buy local!!
There is a local “farm” store around the corner but I’m afraid it is going to be extremely expensive. I’ll have to go check it out. But, until then, I’ll have to decide where I’m going to buy my fruit: money-hungry Monoprix or crusty Carrefour.
I’d love to know if you have any grocery store options that are any better than those two!
PS – I have been to the market in Wazemmes but I am not sure how “local” the produce is there. Does anyone know? I don’t know why but I have the feeling that the produce is bought from sellers and that the men who sell fruits and vegetables in the market are also sellers and not really farmers. I’d like to know if I am wrong though! I love it there and we try to go as often as possible but it’d be even better if it were locally sourced.