New Rheem Market Features Local Produce

Steven Wetterholm, Staff Writer

Rheem Shopping Center now has its own produce market.  Recently opening its doors as “Moraga Produce,” this new market has filled one of the many empty store fronts in the center.  As part of a local family-owned chain with older store locations in Concord and Walnut Creek, it specializes in local and sustainably grown produce at lower than supermarket prices.

The town has been interested for some time in offering additional grocery shopping opportunities for its citizens.  The property manager (KIMCO Realty) for the Rheem Center negotiated the opening of the produce market with the owners of Concord and Walnut Creek Produce.

Recreation Facilities Coordinator Kimberly Nelson visited the new store on its opening day, April 6th, and was impressed with the produce selection, presentation, and friendly staff.  “Some of the fruit and vegetables are displayed on tables that look like long sinks, while others are in wood barrels, making the display special and more market-like.  This is a wonderful touch,” said Nelson.

Nelson noted that the store also offers a large selection of beverages, which was a welcome surprise.  Overall, Nelson felt that the store was very appealing, with “smiling faces, a clean and crisp look, and easy navigation.”  Although Nelson does not pay close attention to prices when shopping for produce, she noted that the prices appeared to be competitive with other local retailers and were lower on many items.

Junior Kylie Burrowes thinks that it is a positive move for Moraga to have a produce store because “it will encourage people to buy local and fresh produce.”  Burrowes believes that a local store will help shoppers to stop relying on grocery chain stores, and focus instead on buying fresh and supporting local farms.

Junior Joelle Alley said,  “I hope that people will take advantage of Moraga Produce, as it will reduce dependence on industrial grown imported agriculture.”  Alley has been growing her own food  since she was a little girl.  Since many people in town rely heavily on Safeway for their food purchases, Alley noted that “Moraga Produce offers a healthy, environmentally friendly option to families throughout Lamorinda.”

Former mayor Karen Mendonca is excited that the Moraga Produce Market provides an additional grocery opportunity for local shoppers and feels that there is definitely room for a fresh produce market and Safeway to successfully co-exist in a town of 16,016 citizens.