As I read the article “Natural Growth” by Hal L. Millard [Sept. 12 Xpress], it seemed to me [that] Earth Fare director Troy DeGroff’s statement, “We’ve always been pushing the envelope on what it means to be natural, and how you can be better at giving people a high-quality product,” is a little contradictory. I ventured into Earth Fare three weeks ago for organic garlic and was shocked to find the garlic was imported from China. We have been cautioned to be aware of foods from China because of the [potential] health risks due to the unsanitary growing conditions and harvesting by slave laborers.
When I mentioned this to Earth Fare’s manager, he told me they buy from an international company and was unable to get garlic from California so had to buy it from China. Yet two days later, Greenlife’s market had garlic from California.
Is Earth Fare going in the same direction as other stores: buying cheap, questionable produce for more profit, forfeiting U.S. citizens’ health?
— Hope Herrick
Earth Fare’s Troy DeGroff replies: California organic garlic is back in stock at Earth Fare. Out-of-stocks and substitutions happen, even to us, and we would rather have organic garlic from our distributors for our customers than none. We buy our produce from U.S.-based distributors, not international companies, as well as from farmers direct—just as our local competitors do. We also offer only N.C.-raised poultry in our fresh-meat case, organic and local ingredients on our food bars, and we use only rBGH-free cheese in our deli and prepared foods.