While it’s hardly news that Wal-Mart has become a huge purchaser of organic milk and dairy products, few people think of the superstore giant as a place to buy organic and local produce. In this Atlantic Monthly article, Corby Kummer takes a look and conducts a few blind taste tests.

His overall takeaway?

IN AN IDEAL WORLD, people would buy their food directly from the people who grew or caught it, or grow and catch it themselves. But most people can’t do that. If there were a Walmart closer to where I live, I would probably shop there.

Most important, the vast majority of Walmarts carry a large range of affordable fresh fruits and vegetables. And Walmarts serve many “food deserts,” in large cities and rural areas—ironically including farm areas. I’m not sure I’m convinced that the world’s largest retailer is set on rebuilding local economies it had a hand in destroying, if not literally, then in effect. But I’m convinced that if it wants to, a ruthlessly well-run mechanism can bring fruits and vegetables back to land where they once flourished, and deliver them to the people who need them most.

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