It Can Be Frustrating

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.

Love Wins

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9 comments on “It Can Be Frustrating

  1. Beyond frustrating, really. Every time I’m tempted to think we’re making collective progress, something like this reminds me of how very far we have to go. All that labor, a labor of love for healthy, good food…. People so desperately need to wake up before it’s too late. That day seems awfully far off considering the lateness of the hour….

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  2. shoreacres says:

    I’m wondering if “tide” didn’t have something to do with it. What you describe at the grocery sounds suspiciously like what we go through every time a hurricane comes along. Even though you’re well inland, this one is bad and it’s been so well publicized that I’m sure many, many people had their anxiety level raised.

    The media always pushes non-perishable in a disaster – which is good. But a lot of folks aren’t experienced enough to know how to incorporate “fresh” into disaster preps.

    I know there are other dynamics at work here, but i really suspect the storm made it worse for you.

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    • Bill says:

      We lived through plenty of those pre-storm mad rushes during our years in Florida. I’m pretty confident that wasn’t an issue here. We aren’t really in the main line of fire. The store wasn’t being cleaned out of bread, milk and beer (as usually happened in Florida). It seemed to be just the usual Saturday shopping going on.

      Notwithstanding my whining, there were a couple of understandable reasons things were slow at the farmer’s market. It’s late in the year and many vendors have quit coming, and it was cool and drizzly and our market is outside.

      Still, there were hundreds of folks in that store and if just a dozen of them had stopped at the farmer’s market it would have made a big difference.

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  3. Paul Lumbye says:

    I was at the Fulton Street Market, under the overpass at the South Street Seaport in New York City two Sundays ago–you would have loved it, table after table of produce fruit and honey and bread and home made pastas and herbs and you name it, all from Hudson Valley growers or even urban homesteaders from places like Brooklyn and Queens!

    OTOH I was at an “Urban Homesteader” farmer’s market in Denver last Saturday and though I got my eggs and my goat cheese, from farms in Windsor and Canon City CO, there was an awful lot of stuff there from a long way away, including brands also available at, say, Whole Foods.

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    • Bill says:

      I’ve seen folks bring in industrial wholesale vegetables and pass them off as locally grown. That one really irks me.

      There are some truly awesome farmer’s markets out there. Ours has a ways to go.

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  4. Ann Wood says:

    Bill and I fought over your broccoli…it was the best ever! I wish you would let us know when you have extras…not to slight your animals…but we humans should come first…LOL <3…it is worth the drive and we would gladly pay to have it on our table!

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    • Bill says:

      None of the broccoli went to waste. Cherie and I ate, froze or gave away all that we didn’t sell that day. We do still have some so I’ll get in touch with you about it. It has been a good year for broccoli. Glad y’all enjoyed it.

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