Wednesday, September 16, 2009

things that make you go hmmm...

So I went to the farmers’ market (I’ll skip mentioning which one, as “who” and “where” aren’t nearly so important to this story as “what”). I picked out some beautiful, fresh, organic veggies, and I took them up to the farmer so he could weigh them. Before he came over to the scale, he put down what had been in his hand – at which point my son said (with some delight) “look Mom – he’s eating Cheezits!!” I looked over and indeed, he was right – the organic vegetable farmer, who I’ve heard many, many times waxing on about the virtues of organic foods, grown with utmost respect for planet and place, was eating a box of Cheezits while manning his booth at the farmers’ market.

Now I totally understand that not everyone lives what they sell. The Toyota salesman drives a Ford, and the Market Basket manager shops at Shaws. I get that. I have been known to eat a Twizzler or two on my way to pick up my CSA share (ahem… yes, it’s true – I own who I am). Contradictions in life abound.

But when it comes to items that are available at the farmers’ markets and/or from local farms and farmers (you can’t get Twizzlers from the farm… but you sure can get fruits and vegetables and meats and even beans), I’m a committed locavore (and I should add that the Twizzlers are an occasional indiscretion, not a habit). I buy flour and oil at Market Basket, but never chicken or tomatoes. I eat apples from one orchard in town, and pears from another. In the winter, I don’t eat imported grapes and oranges, or summer squash trucked in from California. I do eat homemade applesauce made from the previous Fall’s harvest, or winter squash that we’ve been storing in the basement away from the heat of the furnace.

Part of why I do this is in attempt to keep local dollars in the local economy (no Walmart for me, thank you). Another reason is because I do believe that you can vote in an election but you can also vote with your spending – and I vote for green spaces and open farms and the beautiful New England landscapes that I grew up with. Buying from local farms helps keep the farms around, and that (to me) is a very good thing. I also buy local (and whenever possible, organic) because I believe in doing what I can to help the environment, setting a good example for my son, and (whenever possible) only buying things from people I trust to do right by the planet as well as the land they steward and the animals they raise.

This reminds me of a farm whose meat I don’t buy, because the farmer one day told a long and loud story about how he raises his organic meat on his big, beautiful farm, and how after he feeds his animals their dinner he takes his children to McDonald's for theirs. I’ll not even go into to the 1,000 reasons why this causes me to pause and think and wonder how and why people do the things they do – I’ll let you make up your own questions and come to your own conclusions, and I’ll just say, “McDonald's?????”

So back to the Cheezits. I understand a person gets hungry. I understand a person likes salt. And I understand that lots of folks do not “walk their talk” as much as perhaps other folks would like to think they do. But would you buy your organic vegetables from a farm-advocating, organic-advocating, outspoken environmentalist who brings his Cheezits to the farmers’ market to enjoy in front of you while you peruse his stand?? Maybe I am over-sensitive and over-thinking – but I’m not sure I’ll buy from him again. And I really do want to know – would you??

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