I’m not opposed to all factories, or even the overall concept of factories–they have their place. I believe that food, however, should not be a factory product. When industrialization and capitalism and food meet, the end result is not pretty. Because the problem is, industrialization and capitalism are also so closely connected to the pharmaceutical industry. In other words, it pays (the industries) to have the American people get sick so that they have to buy expensive drugs to fix their ailments. Yeah. That’s not a system that I want to be even remotely a part of.
So, I shop at farmer’s markets. Have you ever been to a farmer’s market? Oh! I love farmer’s markets! I never knew they even existed when I was younger, or even when I was first married–and now I love them. While I want to be a self-sufficient farmer and grow everything on my own, my only complaint about that is that I wouldn’t have a need to go buy from the farmer’s market every week. I love bringing my big basket and filling it high with so much produce that I can barely walk to the car (in fact, sometimes they let me park my basket–plus extra 20 lb bag of beans, 2 flats of strawberries, etc.! and drive up to the curb to get it all.)
I think, if we didn’t live on 30 acres in the country, my other life-choice would be to live in the middle of the city and have an old-fashioned bike (with a bell and a basket and a banana seat, of course), and ride to the farmer’s market every week. I’m not sure how all of my 7 (not-so-confident-bike-riding) children would get there, but that’s another story. Tandem bikes? Pedal hard, kids! 😉
Tonight my husband and I had a date, and we chose to go to the farmer’s market. It’s a fabulous way to shop! No matter what your shopping budget is, you can always justify food. No need to go out to the mall and spend $100’s of dollars. You can get your shopping “fix” by buying squash. That’s what I did tonight!
It was the last night of one of my favorite farmer’s markets. It’s beautiful. It’s on the water. There are a couple of booths that are totally organic. I like that. First, we went to the only booth with organic strawberries–and bought the last 2 pints. Then we made a b-line for the “squash” place. Last week Tarena and I scored on squash, at $1.50 each. They were “mystery squash,” (meaning, we had to cook them to find out what they were!), but well worth the price. The same squash, not organic, would have cost $8 at our local Winco (the cheapest grocery store in this area). $1.50 is amazing. The Farmer and I went to that booth tonight, and the lady told me she would sell them to me for $1 this time. $1! So I bought her out of squash! The old man sitting in the lawn chair at her booth said we were their “best customers.” They threw in some peppers for free. I think we spent $16 at their booth. And we were their best customers.
We went to another booth, where a lady was selling a large variety of veggies for good prices. $1.50 for a large bunch of organic kale, $1.25 for a big bunch of organic spinach, etc. She had acorn squash for $1 each, and she had 10 left. We usually cut them in half and put butter & honey in them and cook them–and we have 7 kids. Thats 5 acorn squash for 1 dinner. 10 squash is nothing to us! We bought her out of squash, as well! We spent $20 at her booth. She was very excited and she said we made her night. At first, I was thinking, “wow lady, you’re in the wrong business! $20? That made your night?” But then I thought–no….she’s in the RIGHT kind of business. Growing real food and selling it to real people, that’s the RIGHT kind of business. It’s just wrong–I mean, really, really wrong–that these people, growing REAL food, don’t get paid much money…That a $20 order is her biggest order of the night. That was nothing–less than a week’s worth of food for us. Even if we didn’t have so many children, we could easily spend at least $15 on veggies at a single booth.
How did we get so off track? How come most people would easily fill a cart with factory, processed “food” (which isn’t really nourishment in the slightest) and yet can’t bring themselves to buy $20 worth of vegetables from their local farmer? How come it is so foreign to most people to even find out when the local farmer’s markets are happening? Why are we so content giving the “middle man” the majority of our money and paying the people who sustain our livelihood with their bare hands pennies?
I want to encourage all of you to support your local farmers! Please look at the following resources to find out how to re-route your food dollars! Who are you paying? Middle men? Big box grocery stores? Packaging industries? Science laboratories (for food!?!)? Give your money to the people who nourish you with their own physical labor! 🙂
- Local Harvest A directory of local farmer’s markets.
- USDA Agricultural Marketing Service There are over 7,000 farmer’s markets listed on here–surely there is one in your area!
- Eat Wild This is an awesome resource! Find farms in your area that sell whatever types of food you’re looking for!
And I know…this is bad timing for such a post. Farmer’s market season is winding down. But there are some indoor markets through the winter, in some areas. And many farmers still have goods to sell. We have 1/2 of a pig left to sell for our November butcher date on our farm, for example. Go find a local farm with beef, mushrooms, or whatever is still in season–and support them!!
Where do you shop? How do you show support to your local farmers? What kinds of changes do you hope to make in this area?