Saturday morning I was up at 5 am to go pick veggies for the farmer’s market, in the dark. I like our greens to be as fresh as possible and they’re just not as good if picked a day earlier. This Saturday I also cut some of the prettiest broccoli we’ve ever grown.
Then we drove to the farmer’s market. Our regular customers, folks who care deeply about the source of their food, came and bought veggies for the week. But very few people came. It was dead. Much of what I picked that morning, we just loaded up and brought back home. Nothing goes to waste on our farm, so whatever we don’t eat will end up in compost or will be food for pigs and chickens. Still, it’s frustrating.
It’s most frustrating because we had to stop at the grocery store on the way home because Cherie needed some red onions (I have a good excuse–a freak spring storm washed out our red onion crop). Whereas the farmer’s market had been quiet and empty, the grocery store was packed with shoppers.
At the farmer’s market we had plenty of beautiful organic broccoli, freshly cut that morning and still wet with Virginia dew, which we were selling for $2/lb. But the stuff in the grocery store was ugly and old, shipped in from California, certainly laced with chemicals, and was $2.50/lb.
But as if that wasn’t bad enough, few people were buying produce. The carts in the long lines were filled with processed food in brightly colored boxes, big bags of chips, soft drinks and cans. With some of the finest food on the planet, healthy and delicious, being grown right in their back yards, this was how our community was getting what it would eat.
I know the tide has turned in other parts of the country. In many areas of the country now there is a wait of two or more years just to get a spot at the farmer’s markets, which are crowded with food-loving people every week. But that day hasn’t arrived here yet.
So we’ll labor on, content to know that what we’re doing is right and good. And that in the end all will know that.
In the meantime, I can’t help but be a little frustrated sometimes.