Sunday, July 13, 2008

what to do, what to do

i have a dillema and i'm hoping y'all can help me decide what to do. this past week, we went to a local farmers market in search of some locally produced fruits and vegetables. tangent --> as i'll explain in a future post (unplug yourself: part two), it's important to buy locally. buying locally supports the small farmer, contributes to the regional economy, and cuts down on the amount of fossil fuels consumed during the production/transportation of whatever it is you purchase. digressing...anyway....

i was desperately searching for local peaches and found them at only one of the few dozen booths that crowded the weekly market in woodland park, co. as i stood in line waiting my turn, i heard the proprietor (which i use very loosely here) haggling with a gentleman in front of me. the man asked the vendor very politely how many apricots constitute a "basket" and then asked the price. the man was in his 80's, dressed in a plaid button-down shirt, flat-brimmed cap, and navy blue work pants, and he gave the impression that he perhaps once grew his own produce but has now been reduced to scouring local markets for his 'taters-n-greens.

the vendor, a teenage female clad in a sloppy t-shirt with her slick hair pulled back into an angry knot on the back of her head, told him how many peaches he'd be getting for 5 dollars. the man asked if she'd be willing to take 3 dollars since the apricots were small and the girl indignantly told him that they had the only local apricots at the market so she COULD charge whatever she wanted and that he was lucky it was only 5 dollars. the man was clearly taken aback and stood silent for a moment while the teen moved down the line to insult other customers. another buyer came to his aid and bargained for $3.50, the girl countered with $4.00 after making some other smart-ass comment, and the deal was made.

i was shocked at the disrespect and decided that i didn't need peaches enough to patronize that irreverent bitch so we left with the fresh tomatoes and onions we'd gotten from another booth and moseyed on down the road. several days later, at a weekly market in old colorado city, we again went in search of peaches. i scanned the booths and finally saw a "Colorado Peaches!" sign and got in line for my first fresh peaches of the year. i'd stood there for several seconds and then realized that the vendor was the same girl from woodland park. i begrudgingly bought my peaches and, though they are decent peaches, i feel a tinge of burning hatred every time i eat one.

the dilemma:
do i continue to give money to people who are obviously missing the spirit of local markethood in my quest to do the green thing (and satisfy my need for peaches) or do i stand up for courtesy, compassion, and just-plain-decency and spend my peach allowance at a chain store for produce that more than likely is not locally raised?

missing my grandpa's peaches,


V said...

Picture your own grandmother receiving the same shabby treatment from this little snip. Now do you think you'll buy from her again?
You bought 'local' from other vendors. Sometimes you have to sacrifice one principle for another.

T said...

Hmmm. Lots of ways to look at this one. First, does the bitch own the booth, or is she an employee? Does her boss (presumably the farmer) share her attitude? Is it worth trying to contact the farmer to find out? Because, it seems to me, your issue isn't about the price of the produce, it's about the attitude....

If the farmer is as bad as the employee, then you're faced with another issue: that transported peaches just really aren't worth eating 90% of the time. But surely this farmer isn't the only one growing peaches nearby? (And, for that matter, are they *definitely* local? Or are they masquerading?) If they are local, is there a fruit CSA you guys can join next year?