September 29, 2010

Farmers' market revisited: Story touched lots of nerves

By Meredith Goad
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

Bring correct change when you can. "I get hit by $20 bills relentlessly, and I run out of ones no matter how many I bring."

Sampling protocols: One per customer, please. "We're not serving lunch here."

Hang up the cell phone. "I refuse to wait on anyone who is talking on the phone while shopping."

Don't let your dog pee on farmers' signs.

I also wrote a piece on prices, noting that you'll pay about the same at the farmers' market for most produce as you would at the local grocery. But there don't seem to be as many bargains as there used to be, and pricing can be confusing.

Jim Brown, a retired restaurateur from Edgecomb, wrote that a few weeks ago, he paid $6 for three tomatoes at a local farmers market. "I was too embarrassed to put them down and say no thank you," he wrote. "Never again. I think some farmers feel empowered now that the country is riding the tsunami of organic, free range, back-to-the-land produce. They are in the process now of killing the goose that laid the golden egg. What a shame!"

I did get a couple of responses from people who thought I was hurting the market by writing about these issues. The most thoughtful response came from David Wallace of Gorham, who said his entire family had read my column several times and had "a fairly lengthy family discussion about it."

Wallace took issue with my tone, saying that I seemed to emphasize the negative rather than the good that the market does. Anywhere the public tends to gather, he argues, "There will always be the inconsiderate people wearing blinders who haven't a clue the disruption they cause, there are always those whose greed will allow them to justify making the easiest buck at the least cost whether it breaks trust or not, but should we just give the baddies a bigger barrel?

"From our own experience, we always find the market to be a more upbeat experience than what your article described. We have seen the rude folks and choose to see through them. I cannot write off a Maine summer as being an unpleasant experience because we have some blackflies, ticks and mosquitoes nor would I want to start spraying! If parking and crowds do not fit our mood at the moment for a farmers' market Saturday, we change our timing and/or just suck it up and go with the flow."

Good advice, Mr. Wallace.

Finally, I want to thank everyone who helped me in my quest for basil. I am happy to report that my blender will be busy this week making lots of pesto.

Staff Writer Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:


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