Monday, July 26, 2010

The pitfalls of wholesale.

I know, I know, my neglect for this poor blog is appalling, but I'm trying to dedicate myself again!  Look for recipes, photos, and farm stories in the (hopefully!) near future!

Our season has been so fickle so far.  Disappointments, shock, and utter disbelief plague us at every turn.  It's been unbelievable, thus far, what has happened to us--a textbook example of the things that happen to a farm, all in our first year!  We've had early crop failures of broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage (all of which we hope to get a good crack at again in the fall), overwhelming amounts of weeds coming on, poor time management, horrible harvests, and a crazy storm that collapsed the polyhouse (onto one hundred twenty tomato plants!).  However, we're pulling strong to catch up, and we haven't been horribly affected thus far.  ... Thus far.  Fingers crossed!

Richland Community College's Farmer's Market is going really well.  It's tripled in vendor size since our first week, and it's really looking up!  The crowd is great, and the other vendors are fantastic.  The support between the small farms is tremendous!

I feel like this is a great opportunity to educate you all on the evils of buying wholesale produce.  Yes, it's cheap, but, it is impossible for a small farm that actually GROWS their own produce to compete!  Buying bulk cheaply and reselling at a price that completely undercuts neighbouring vendors is a sure way to make sure you have no competition--because everyone else will either close up shop and move to another market, or they will simply be driven out of business.  Take a look around; do the other tents have massive amounts of produce stockpiled for purchase?  Does anyone else have that trailer full of watermelons in big, brown boxes, suspiciously similar to the ones they sit in in your local grocery store?  Ask where, exactly, the produce in question is grown.  Ask if they allow farm tours.  Ask anything that pertains to the produce, and if they stutter, refuse to answer, or plain lie to your face (a sad reality), move on.  Please, support your local farmers.  Prices are higher because we have to sustain ourselves and our families off of the income we get from the markets.  We have to pay for supplies to grow the produce, for labor.  Wholesale "farms" have none of these--or not near as much as someone who would grow all of that themselves.  So the next time you go to your local Farmer's Market, look around--be conscious of the decisions you're making.  Just because you're spending your money at a Market doesn't make it a "green" financial decision.

Looking forward to seeing you all next week at Market, or CSA members on Tuesday for your weekly share!

Happy eating,
Golden Oldies Farm