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    Whole Foods Celebrates Local Growers, Hosts 'Solarbration' At New Princeton Store

    AUSTIN, Tex. -- As the seasonal flavors of the summer harvest become increasingly accessible, Whole Foods Market based here launched a campaign to publicize locally grown fruits and vegetables brought directly to its stores from the field.

    AUSTIN, Tex. -- As the seasonal flavors of the summer harvest become increasingly accessible, Whole Foods Market based here launched a campaign to publicize locally grown fruits and vegetables brought directly to its stores from the field.

    "Local farm production helps us stay connected to the seasons, regional varieties, and the people who grow our food," said James Parker, a produce coordinator for Whole Foods Market. "Whole Foods Market supports local growers by providing a marketplace for fresh fruits and vegetables."

    Whole Foods said that while it has the scale and scope to make national purchases, one of the its core values is to support the communities in which it operates by buying from local growers and food producers.

    The super-natural chain said a recent survey found more than 60 percent of its shoppers prefer to shop there because the company buys from local farmers.

    "Simply put, fruit that ripens on the vine or tree tastes better," said Parker. "Buying from local and regional growers ensures these flavorful, fresh items reach our stores even faster."

    In related news, Whole Foods and BP Solar hosted a Summer Solarbration event yesterday at the natural and organic supermarket's newest store in Princeton, N.J. The free event officially dedicated the 126.7-kilowatt BP Solar array that sits atop the store, and generates enough solar energy every day to power about 30 typical homes.

    "Whole Foods Market is excited that we are able to generate significant economic and environmental benefits for the store and our community," said Melissa McDermott, store marketing specialist.

    The BP Solar array, which covers 12,500 square feet of store's roof, produces enough power to offset roughly 15 percent of its energy needs. Because solar arrays generate power without producing any pollution, the system also reduces CO2 emissions by 1,950 tons over the life of the system, or the equivalent of removing 520 cars from the roadways, the chain said.

    Whole Foods also said it is saving more than $515,000 on the cost of the system due to a rebate from the state's Clean Energy Program. Created by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU), the Clean Energy Program provides incentives and rebates for individuals and businesses to purchase and install solar power systems.

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