Cantaloupe first: OK – they were melons, not cantaloupe – but Norwich Farms has the Cutest Melons EVER! Including tiny watermelons that will fit into your NYC ‘fridge!
Onto the controversy: Today I read in the Tigers & Strawberries blog, a commentary on a new NYTimes story about a farmer who was banned from the greenmarkets. He was supplementing his meats with outsourced meat – he claims it was all still pasture raised – but it was coming in as far away as Georgia.
I have no qualms with a vendor selling another local farmer’s locally produced goods – I DO have a major issue with vendors selling foods from 800 miles away and calling it “local”. In our market, “local” seems to mean Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York. That’s a lot of states to pull from.
The good news is this: I had no idea that our greenmarket system had inspectors! We have people who watch out for our food sources, who inspect the farms they are coming from, who are part of the LOCAL greenmarket system, and who enforce the rules. I think this is fabulous!
I don’t know who our readers are exactly, but I assume that a number of them are like myself: I don’t make a ton of money. I’m solidly middle class in a city that is expensive and outright difficult to live in sometimes (even though I don’t think I’ll live anywhere else again ever). I choose to spend a good amount of my income at the greenmarket, because I believe in supporting local agriculture. I think it is the best choice for my personal health, the health of my husband, the environment, the economy, and my conscience. I make sacrifices to make sure that I do this kind of shopping – from monetary to putting myself out at a physical level (hauling pounds of produce on the subways at rush hour is no fun). I expect that the food I’m shelling out for is what I’ve been told it is.
I feel for Mr.Dines – obviously he is headed for some hard times. I hope for him, that he’s learned from this episode, and that he can move forward with integrity.