How New Seasons is adjusting to the drought

Portland grocer is buying produce that requires less water to produce. 

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Portland-based grocer New Seasons is buying produce that requires less water to produce.

Tracking how stores adjust to the West Coast drought will be interesting, but the stores don’t expect customers to change their attitudes easily.

[Mellie] Pullman, the Willamette Industries professor of supply-chain management, said consumers are primarily interested in buying new products if they think it will benefit them personally. So, grocery shoppers might buy organic produce because it is healthier for them. The lack of pesticides going into the soil is a side benefit.

“It takes a consumer that wants to take a bigger step, and that’s not the majority,” Pullman said. “There are going to be people who buy those tomatoes, obviously, but it’s going to be a much smaller group that is going to buy organic for example.”


New Seasons has been stocking dry-farmed tomatoes for years, but they haven’t been a favorite among consumers.

Jeff Fairchild, a produce buyer, expects it will take “an event that knocks people on their heads” before they start shopping with the drought in mind.

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