Shady Maple 2

Lancaster County-grown produce on display at Shady Maple Farm Market.

County supermarkets know that local shoppers believe local produce is fresher and tastier. But the appeal of local produce goes far beyond those two qualities, shoppers told LNP | LancasterOnline.

Local produce fits several of the criteria that Heather Lenhart, 60, of Manheim, considers as she shops for produce, preferably organic. 

“I want it to be fresh and I want to support the community,” said Lenhart, an optician, as she read the labeling of a package of organic salad greens at the Giant in the Lancaster Shopping Center.

Oregon Dairy shopper Breanna Caggiano, 28, of Lancaster, a software engineer, was on the same page. “We’re supporting the local community and it tastes better,” she said.

Ditto for Gloria Ansell, 71, of Ephrata, a retired postal clerk who shops at Oregon Dairy as well. “I like supporting our neighbors, our farmers,” Ansell said. Local produce “is higher quality too."

Emily and Paul Zammit, a Lancaster couple who shop at the same Giant as Lenhart, cited a number of benefits to buying locally grown produce. 

Locally grown produce “is definitely fresher,” said Emily Zammit, 28, a human resources specialist. She added that buying locally grown food “is good for the community.”

But Paul Zammit, 32, a senior operations manager for a transportation company, pointed out that local produce can be more expensive — a potential deterrent if the price difference is substantial. 

Wegmans shopper Art Pavlatos, 78, of Lancaster, a retired history and government teacher, seeks out local produce while it’s available “because we won’t have it in a few months. We’ll have to settle for stuff imported from who knows where.”

Local produce tastes best, acknowledges Nancy Craun, 79, of Lancaster, a Giant customer and retired factory worker. “You can tell the difference,” she said.

Nevertheless, that’s not her main motivation for buying local produce. “I look wherever I can to support local farmers. I’m a glutton for that,” Craun said. “I like to help them, keep them going. It’s a hard time for them too.”

Ryan Kline, 32, who patronizes the Weis store at Red Rose Commons, sides with Craun. “I like to support local farmers and the local community. I try to keep it local,” said Kline, a construction worker who lives in Lancaster. Wegmans shopper Nancy Kincade, 64, of Lancaster, shared the identical sentiment.

“It just feels good to buy locally,” said Oregon Dairy customer Bronwynn March, 53, of Lancaster, an IT project manager. “It’s a bonus that it’s better (tasting) anyway.”

Karl Bierly, a technology education teacher who shops at Shady Maple and Giant, took a similar stance. Bierly, 37, of Leola, liked the fact that local produce is fresher. But the main reason he prefers to buy local produce, “even if I have to spend a little extra,” is because his purchases support local farmers. 

“I wish there was more of it,” Bierly added.

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