Monday, March 25, 2013

Maggie's Farm

I'd like to lump Coonamessett Farm in with the Farmers Market vendors and implore you all to support them as well. I've heard the arguments as far as the farm is concerned. Why go there for blueberries in July when you can get them at the supermarket - and for less money!
It's hard to know where to begin with this argument. As I see it - it's a no brainer. Anything picked at the farm just plain tastes better. Much better. I can get tomatoes in January but what's the point when they taste like cr*p? Ditto for strawberries, melons, rock-hard peaches - you name it. Fruits and vegetables should be consumed in their proper seasons. We should gorge ourselves on watermelon and corn on the cob in summer until we are sick to death of them knowing that it will be nine or ten months before they'll be coming around again. There's a reason they call it summer squash.
And now for the less money argument. Yes. It it more expensive than the supermarket. That's because it's better than the supermarket. We can all understand that when you buy something handmade or handcrafted it's more expensive than the same product mass produced. We understand it in everything except for food that is. These strawberries were grown by the guy around the corner with no middle man - why can't he sell it cheaper than the companies that ship vegetables to the chain shops? Well for one thing your neighbor likely isn't getting any farm subsidies - the farm bill mostly supports big agriculture. Your local farmer produces less, owns less land, and employs growing practices that cost more money. But forget all that for a moment and think of this. We're talking about the food you eat. The food your family eats. What could be more important? What could be worth paying a bit more for if you can afford it?
I've also heard people say they aren't renewing their farm membership because their children are too old to want to go there anymore and feed the chickens; as if farms (like super sugary breakfast cereals) are only for kids.
To that argument I say - what are there organizations you support? Audubon? The Humane Society? The Appalachian Mountain Club? Do you reap all the benefits of your membership? 
We belong to Mass Audubon which means we're entitled to waived entrance fees at all the Massachusetts Audubon sanctuaries. If I'm on my game we might visit one or two sanctuaries per year which doesn't cover the cost of membership. My membership to the AMC entitles me to discounted lodge stays. We manage one weekend per year at an AMC lodge and while I love staying there, the discount is not equal to the amount we pay for a yearly membership. And yet I still reup these memberships. What's more, I donate to my local NPR station knowing that my only perk is that my local NPR station (hopefully) will not go anywhere. Anywhere like away that is. It's my hope that Coonamessett Farm likewise does not go away. If that's your hope I would entreat you to renew your farm membership, regardless of whether or not you think you'll visit the farm enough times to justify the cost. Here's how I see it. Would you rather support Coonamessett Farm with a yearly membership or drive down Hatchville Road years from now and pass the Coonamessett Farm Condominium Development? Besides, if you join - it might encourage you to visit more often, which will be good for everyone.

song: Maggie's Farm • artist: Bob Dylan


Debbi McNeer said...

Great post, so common-sense and so hard for most consumers to understand.

Audrey Humaciu said...

Wonderful points! I have been buying from a market that sources only from local farms, but I think I am going to re-up with my CSA soon. The quality difference between these and chain markets is amazing!

Larissa T. said...

Nothing like fresh goodies from the farm. Nothing. Ever.

Thanks for linking up! :)