Monday, May 31, 2010

A Farmers' Market and Food Thoughts

"All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen."

My father and his girlfriend, Sheila, have been visiting this weekend from Massachusetts and it has been a joy to spend time with them and watch our children enjoying their visit and my father's new puppy, Lilly.

Yesterday, Sheila, my two oldest boys, Abby and I went down to Stowe (about a 50 minute drive) because Sheila had never been. Our first stop was the Farmers' Market. Our family had been once before the previous season and knew it to be a good sized one.

Here are some pictures ~

~annual flowers and herbs~

~live music
~our Abby~


I was struck, however, with a feeling of sadness to find there was only one vegetable grower represented among the approximate 30 vendors... just one. Has it become that hard for a small organic vegetable grower to make a living? Is it not even worth it for diversified farmers to grow vegetables along side other products? Or maybe a lot of farms have become CSAs and don't bother attending markets?

It made me just a bit more grateful for our organic vegetable and strawberry farm located right here in our little town and for the hard work of the owners. Yes, the food costs a bit more, but it is grown just four miles from our home, is grown by a family that cares for the land and makes their living from the farm.

I leave you with a quote from one of my favorite authors, Wendell Berry ~
This old sun-based agriculture was fundamentally alien to the industrial economy; industrial corporations could make relatively little profit from it.... [But] as farmers became more and more dependent on fossil fuel energy, a radical change occurred in their minds. Once focused on biology, the life and health of living things, their thinking now began to focus on technology and economics. Credit, for example, became as pressing an issue as the weather."

Warm wishes for a beautiful week,


  1. Wendell Berry is also a favorite in our house! :)
    I am so surprised to hear that there was only one! Such a lovely area, how lucky to be blessed by your local farm!

  2. How sad, indeed, to find only ONE vegetable grower! We continue to spread the word about buying fresh and local and supporting our local farms. And we continue to thank each of the growers we buy from for their care of the land.

  3. Looks like fun! I love those little woolie booties! Only one vegetable grower?? Strange!

  4. WOW! I can't believe there was only one vegetable grower so sad! Is it optomistic to think that maybe it is a little early? I know here in the White MOuntains many of a local grower don't have much yet. You are lucky to have a farm right down the road.

  5. Sadly, at our local farmers market there is only one veggie vendor also. I wish there were more. I believe the farmers that do sell are going to the larger markets in the bigger cities.

    Have a wonderful day!


  6. I love Wendell Berry's writings, too. I recently read his novel, Hannah Coulter, and I thought it was very powerful and beautifully written.

  7. Great post. When we lived in the Upper Valley a while back, we visited the Norwich VT farmer's market every weekend. We have such fond memories of that market. Now, we belong to a CSA that is within walking distance, find eggs, milk, grass fed beef, and bread at a farm also within walking distance, and get our chickens from our neighbor across the street. We are very lucky.

    I always love words from Wendell Berry. Do you ever read Orion Magazine? You would like it I'm sure.

  8. And I was complaining about our farmer's market featuring a mix of organic and conventional growers! Only one vegetable vender? I'm glad you can access an alternative. I live in a valley rich with local fare, and I'm very grateful on a daily basis. I don't have to shop at large grocery stores for nearly 6 months of the year. :-)

  9. I absolutely love that first quote at the beginning of your post. What a fun time with family at the farmer's market :-)

  10. The farmer's market we have been setting up in has a smattering of veggies right now. There are also meat venders (beef, capon, veal, and lamb), greenhouse plants, milk (white, chocolate, and strawberry!), baked goods, and us (honey, eggs, soap, and whatever we make or grow at that time). I think one of the problems is that 1) folks don't buy at the farmer's market because of the lack of convenience and 2) the sense that it is more expensive (it isn't). However, having folks become more aware and shop more locally will make a difference. Keep getting the word out! :)