Today, after visiting two farmer's markets here in upstate NY, taking an exercise walk (3 miles) with some wildflower photography, making a trip to buy a couple of little gifties for a baby shower, I ended up in our local botanical gardens to check out the old and new fashioned roses in bloom. Now I'm tired and whiney, and want to write a post that incorporates a couple of things that have been on my mind lately regarding sustainability and the buy local? or is it ever OK to buy imported? questions I struggle with.
At the Vestal, NY farmers market, the main items for sale were lettuce, radishes, peas, local strawberries, honey, garlic scapes, eggs, and - tomatoes??? I would be surprised if these were local hothouse tomatoes because they were as pale as a supermarket tomato normally is. I wonder where they were from. Maybe he does tell customers where they are from, and if I was less introverted, I would have asked. Maybe he sells them as a convenience. Maybe I'm making excuses for the vendor.
I saw someone selling peaches and those are NOT local, no way whatsoever, not in June.
There are customers, I am sure, who would buy produce from a farmers
market that is still a month away from being available locally. I am not one of them. I do not purchase in farmers markets if it is not local. Period.
The second question is a question of quality. This year, local strawberries are not good. On the other hand, I can get excellent strawberries from California, trucked over 2,000 miles, "fresh", to my local supermarket. This is a local supermarket chain, headquartered in Rochester, New York. That local supermarket provides about 600 jobs, many part time, but still jobs, to our community. Do I buy the farmers market berries? Or the supermarket berries? I hate to say it, but so far, the supermarket berries have won.
At the other local market, at Otsiningo Park, I ended up with some more whines. I bought a heuchera from this vendor last week, and was hoping she had a columbine. She didn't.
The man who was selling sorrel last week had it again - but the weather was warmer, I was an hour later, and the sorrel was very wilted. It's a tender plant - I hope he finds a way to put his sorrel in a cooler next time. The schav (an Eastern European cold sorrel soup) my spouse made from last week's purchase was wonderful. I had my taste buds set to indulge in some ice cold sour schav again. Well, if that is the biggest disappointment I suffer this weekend, I can count myself fortunate.
My next stop was the Ravenwood Gardens booth. But, to my disappointment, she did not have the herbal insect repellent I love. Two more weeks, she said. It was still steeping. That was good to know - it means it is truly - shall I use the term? - artisan.
VINES, a very worthwhile urban gardening organization, didn't have anything we needed, which was too bad.
But a good day all in all. The sun is shing. What could be better than that?
Would you buy non local food from a farmers market? Would you buy from a supermarket if the quality was superior to the offerings of the farmers market?