What percentage is considered a reasonable amount of Canadian produce?

On my last visit to my very popular neighbourhood grocery store (which will remain nameless), I found that 90% of their produce came from either Mexico or some other country. So I did what every consumer with time on her/his hands does, I wrote a letter explaining my disappointment with their lack of Canadian produce.

Their response:

“…Please know that we are strongly committed to supporting local businesses and the Canadian economy. One example of this ongoing effort is the fact that we are proud to be the number one retailer when it comes to supporting local produce growers; with approximately 27 per cent of our year-round produce purchases being home-grown, and supplied to us by over 400 local farmers across Canada. This is just one example of our loyalty to local suppliers, as thousands of Canadian products can be found in all departments throughout our stores. That being said, there are times when local vendors simply cannot meet our quantity demands or quality standards and we have to look elsewhere for supply. As I’m sure you can appreciate, cost is also a priority for us, as our focus is on delivering our customers low everyday prices….”

I don’t know what other people are thinking, but I think that 27% is a ridiculously low amount of Canadian produce. Is there any reason as to why we can’t have hot-house tomatoes from somewhere in Canada? Why do tomatoes have to come all the way from Mexico (and where in Mexico for that matter, from the north? the south?). They are obviously not fully ripe when they are picked thus they are ripening on the way here, so I am sure the flavour is tossed right out the truck they are travelling in. The same goes for cucumbers, peppers, and any other vegetable out there. Sure we can’t grow peaches, plums and pears in the winter and we can’t grow bananas or oranges but we have so many different varieties of apples that keep over the winter that there is certainly no reason to import them.

So now I go out of my way to shop for groceries. I travel to the local market and various other grocery stores in search of only Canadian produce. I take my electric bike when I can and if I do not have too much to carry. Soon my garden will start producing veggies and this year I will freeze and can until my husband says that is enough all ready.