RICHMOND (NEWS1130) – Local berry growers are speaking up after a protest in Richmond against supermarkets that only buy imported berries.

Birak Berry Farms dumped a truckload of berries on the side of a Richmond road on Friday in a symbolic protest against the supermarkets’ decision to stock their produce aisles with strawberries, blueberries and other berries from across the border.
Local farmer Julianna Christiansen says many local growers no longer bother trying to sell to big supermarkets.

“Unless we have enough produce to serve all their chains, they won’t buy from us,” she says. “They’ll buy from larger wholesalers.”

She says some of the smaller, independent stores have the freedom to buy her produce, but the bigger supermarkets say they need large, frequent orders.

Keremeos farmer Carmen Parsons says it’s a hassle for big stores to help out smaller farms.

“If my crop isn’t enough to supply their entire store, then they need to source it from multiple places,” she says. “And the more places they have, the more organizing they have to do–the more complicated it is.”

Luckily Parsons and her family is able to make a living thanks to local farmers’ markets, but many other farmers say bigger stores need to at least attempt to take in locally grown produce.