International quick-service giant McDonald’s is trying to cash in on the local movement.

McDonald’s highlights local apples in Washington

The chain’s western Washington region launched the From Here campaign late July, meant to inform Washingtonians of the in-state origin of the apples, potatoes, fish and milk McDonald’s sources.

The campaign includes TV ads and billboards throughout the western part of the state, as well as a new microsite with facts about the chain’s use of Washington ingredients.

Selah, Wash.-based Tree Top Inc. is the primary supplier of the chain’s apples nationwide, according to a campaign fact sheet, but the chain has four other suppliers, including Irwindale, Calif.-based Ready Pac; Shelby, Mich.-based Peterson Farms; and Salinas, Calif.-based Fresh Express and Taylor Farms.

“When an apple is dipped at one of our restaurants, you can bet it hasn’t traveled far from a Washington tree,” the fact sheet reads.

McDonald’s purchased 13 million pounds of apples in 2009. At the chain’s 191 western Washington restaurants, 88% of the apples served were grown in Washington.

“(The campaign) is really a great benefit to Tree Top,” said Ned Rawn, national accounts manager for foodservice at Tree Top.

Billboards promoting the local apples read “Picked in Yakima, Dipped in Kirkland,” for example, Rawn said.

The campaign has met with some opposition, as some bloggers and pundits have called it “local washing.”

“We take food quality seriously and want our customers to know that we purchase from the country’s top farmers, bakers and producers — many of the same trusted brands that supply your neighborhood supermarket,” Lydia Wardle, supply chain manager Northwest for McDonald’s, said in a news release. “We are proud to partner with local suppliers like Tree Top and Darigold (milk) to bring our customers the quality food they love.”