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Buyers Not Willing to Forgo Quality for Local Produce, Study Shows

Lehigh University investigated how willing produce buyers would be to purchase East-Coast broccoli with different quality characteristics if they knew it was locally grown. As part of The Broccoli Project, researchers have worked to develop broccoli that can be grown well on the East Coast, but these new varieties grown in hot and humid weather do not have the bud and head uniformity of California broccoli. Lehigh University researchers surveyed 27 regional wholesale and retail buyers representing 50% of the retail grocery market and found that broccoli appearance was more important to them than being locally grown. They concluded that growers should approach the natural food store market, which is less visually demanding, with local produce first, before attempting to sell to larger retailers.