Saturday, January 16, 2016

Local Saturday - Walmart and Whoopie (Pies)

No more "urban offense and rural defense".

Walmart is ending an experiment begun in 2011, with small "express" stores.  Some 10,000 people in the United States, and another 6,000 outside our country, will lose their jobs.

Walmart had hoped that lower income shoppers (who will shop several times a week, as they accumulate enough money to shop)  would embrace the concept of a smaller, 10,000. sq foot type store, larger than a convenience store but smaller than a mega-big box superstore.

All the more reason why you should support your local grower and shop (if there is one) at your local farmer's market.  Big corporations are not there for their customers.  Obviously, all sellers sell to make profits (otherwise, why be in business?), but for small sellers, the customer and his/her needs is always a main focus.

Why?  Because they've met you.  They know you personally.  You are a person to them, not a dollar amount of profits.

Today, a visit to the twice a month indoor winters farmers market in downtown Binghamton, New York illustrated that.

A farmer we've bought from many times invited us to come up to his farm.  "It will be more relaxed there.  We can visit, and we have more items than we can take to the market."  As he spoke, a young woman helping him out smiled and interacted with another customer's young son.  I can just imagine the pleasant memories this young boy will have when he is older.

Niechelle Wade, a woman who farms (Sunny Hill Farms) near Whitney Point, New York, greeted me from her booth.  She had chocolate and gingerbread whoopie pies for sale.  I couldn't resist.   These are hand made, with love.

You can get whoopie pies at Walmart, too.  But you can't talk to the baker.

Another bakery person, the owner of Boer Bakery at Downward Slope Farms, chatted with me about her out of this world crackers.  She explained that I could call her before Wednesday and she would have the baked goods I wanted at the Saturday market.  That included her crackers, which are so labor intensive she only makes them by special order now (and not during the summer heat).  She also said if I wanted something not in her selection of breads and baked goods, to suggest them.

Do Walmart executives go out and talk to their customers at their stores?  I wonder.

Perhaps it isn't fair to compare a huge Walmart with small local growers and producers.  But, as far as I am concerned, that's exactly why I like to shop at farmer's markets - because it is more than a trip to buy food and make someone far away that much wealthier.

It's social contact, money that stays in the community and is respent, and food for the soul.

Will you or someone you know be affected by the Walmart layoffs?

20 comments:

  1. I love a good farmer's market. You can't beat the prices and I've found the quality is often better than some grocery stores.

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    1. Prices in ours can be variable (and sometimes too expensive for many) but the quality is so superior.

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  2. Really a good point. I'm not sure most people make that same connection. Thanks for pinging us all on it.
    Carol

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  3. Hi,
    I wasn't aware of the details. Walmart has a bad reputation for how they treat their employees.
    Thanks for the information Alana.
    Janice

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    1. I lived in Arkansas (where Walmart started) when Walmart was starting to get big. I like to follow what they are up to.

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  4. Love this! We've experienced a similar thing by switching to a locally-owned independent neighbourhood pharmacy instead of getting our prescriptions filled at one of the large chains. The difference in quality of service and personal attention is unbelievable - I'd never go back!

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    1. I, also, use a neighborhood pharmacy and love their service. On the other hand, my mother in law's insurance requires her to use a mail order pharmacy. At best, it's a nightmare. Unbelievable differences.

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  5. I like to shop at the mom and pop stores and love the local farmers market. I'm not a big fan of Walmart

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    1. I am not a fan of Walmart, either...but I admit to shopping there from time to time. Gulp.

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  6. One of the great things is that farmers markets have started accepting food stamps (called various things in different states) to encourage low income buyers to come to the market and get fresh produce. I love the farmers market and my COOP.

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    1. Yes, ours started accepting what we call SNAP perhaps three or so years ago. It's a real problem - growers must make a certain amount to stay in business, but that results in them having to charge prices (at times) too high for many in this area.

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  7. I like farmers markets. This past week, I wrote an article for the newspaper about agriculture in my community. There is hopes of having a farmers market right here. It would be great. They could sell eggs, honey, garlic, fresh vegetables,fruit, melons, etc.
    It's always good to know where your food comes from. The more local the food, the fresher and tastier it is.

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    1. I hope you do get a local farmers market - and that people find it and help make it a success. There is so much they can sell - not just food.

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  8. I love the farmers markets but usually, I am in such a hurry that Walmart is more convenient. I probably need to slow down--I might enough the experience then. ha Thanks for sharing.

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    1. The slowing down would be well worth it. Walmart does certain things well - but I don't think produce (as one example) is one of them.

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  9. Wow! I wasn't aware of what Walmart was doing. Yes, local markets should be the only way to go. Great post thanks!

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  10. That's what's great about farmers markets. I haven't been back to the one I sell at since December, but I think I need to go back in a couple weeks or so. It's great to meet people and make them things they ask for. I do enjoy custom orders. (I'm a crafter, not a farmer.)

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    1. At my area markets, there aren't many crafters, but the Ithaca, NY market (about an hour away) has many more - woodworkers, weavers, clothes makers, and more. No knitters or crocheters that I recall, though.

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