Strawberry Fields Forever: Celebrating Economics at the Grocery Store

Boxes of fresh and ripe strawberries

I love going to the grocery store.

My favorite part of the grocery store is the produce section. The variety of colors, smells, and textures is almost overwhelming. Bananas from Ecuador. Mangoes from Brazil. Garlic from China. Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries galore!

Due to increases in technology, innovation, trade and the power of what the “Father of Economics” Adam Smith called the “invisible hand” of the market, we have a larger and more varied selection of fresh fruits and vegetables available to us than ever before.

But this is not how the produce section of my local grocery store looked when I was a child. I grew up in West Virginia, a very rural state in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains. We can grow some produce in West Virginia, including strawberries.

However, strawberries in West Virginia are only ripe during the month of May. As a child, I had lots of fresh strawberries in May. But the rest of the year, no strawberries at all.

Due to technological improvements and innovations over the last 30 years, strawberries can now grow year-round in some areas of the U.S., mostly Southern California. And, due to improvements in transportation and refrigeration, we can ship them anywhere in the U.S. – even to other countries. If we face drought or demand is unusually high, we simply import strawberries from other countries that grow them.

Strawberries are now available for purchase nearly every single day in most supermarkets across the U.S., including the ones in West Virginia. To me, that is absolutely amazing.

The produce section of a modern-day supermarket is a celebration of economics and the market at work. Technological innovation and trade result in economic growth that benefits all of us, making our lives better and better every day.

Keep reading about financial markets and economics in our past blog posts. Interested in studying economics? Learn about the business programs offered at Grand Canyon University.

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