Wal-Mart produce: Goodbye, fruit flies!

While Wal-Mart prides itself on selling almost everything, almost half of its revenues come from selling groceries. With this in mind, it's also worth noting that Wal-Mart's produce section has, historically, been its Achilles' heel.

When I lived in Virginia, "Squalor Mart" was my local store, and I bought most of my family's groceries there. The produce section was always a minefield: while I could generally count on the store to have great prices and a decent selection, the melons often were accompanied by swarms of flies, and I had to be very careful about picking my tomatoes. In fact, even though the nearest grocery store was several miles away, I often took special trips there just to pick up fruits and veggies.

Apparently, I wasn't the only one who noticed that Wal-Mart's produce was a little shabby. Realizing that their fresh food sections were underperforming, the chain recently launched a huge offensive to improve the quality of their merchandise. Starting last year, they began aggressively pursuing local farmers in an attempt to introduce more locally-grown and organic produce in their stores; by the end of the summer, 20% of the food in Wal-Mart stores was locally grown.