Saturday, July 16, 2011
Farmer's Market Failure
Today, I felt like a “real food” snob for the first time. I wasn’t even trying to be one.
I attempted a local farmer’s market for the first time (albeit, I arrived when there was just one group left for the day). And I was so excited about it. I even shared with the people behind the tables that this was my first time there. They were very polite and welcoming as they asked me what I was looking for. I scanned the tables of tomatoes, zucchini, peaches and other yummy treasures.
Then, I asked the question I had been practicing in my head for a while. It didn’t quite come out as confident as I had rehearsed. “So, what do you all do about. . .spraying?” I smiled very sweetly and practically whispered “spraying” like it was a bad word.
Immediate response(s) came. And gone was the polite man who was just asking me for what I needed.
“Of course we spray. You have to spray. Have you ever grown anything yourself? Do you know how hard it is to grow something without spraying? Everyone’s going to die of something. I’ve got families buying my produce to go home and make their own baby food. Their babies are healthier than a lot of other babies. You want things organically certified? I have a sister-in-law who always bought things from Trader Joe’s. She stopped buying organic. She’s fine. Everyone’s going to die of something. Parents buy their stuff from me and they have healthy babies. . . “
Wow. I felt like I had received a serious tongue-lashing and when he repeated his comment about inevitable death and healthy babies for the fourth or fifth time, I finally said, “Well, our daughter just finished chemo and she’s only 2 years old. I’d really like to avoid pesticides as much as possible.” He didn’t really respond to that. I scanned the table a bit more, thanked them for their time and returned to a vanful of my beloved family members. . . who are all going to die of something. . . with empty hands.
I certainly understand that farmers go through quite a lot to support their families and compete for business, but I had no ill intentions in my question and really don't think it deserved the response it received.
I was embarrassed, dejected, discouraged, and kind of offended. We drove down the street to the local grocery store and bought over-priced organic produce that was anything but local. Sadface.
Farmer’s market attempt #1 was a failure.
I apparently committed a cardinal farmer’s sin, but the only one I knew about was to not ask if they were organic. I thought asking about spraying was what you do. I didn’t even bring up the “O” word – he did! All I got out was what I posted above. Should I just resort to buying the Clean 15 locally and give up on finding someone who doesn’t spray? Help! I don’t want to be scarred from Farmer’s Markets for life because of one bad experience.
So, farmer’s market pros, what advice do you have for me?