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Goner Message Board / Food & Drink / Wal-Mart: the new Whole Foods?
Posted: Mar 17, 2006 8:12 pm
Interesting article over on Slate today:

Posted: Mar 17, 2006 9:49 pm
Completely agree, having had some small farm experience. While I am not a crunchy consumer by nature (and actually loathe going into whole foods/wild oats/etc only because of forced interaction with recros and hippies) I gladly pay extra for locally grown produce and meats. Unfortunately, there is a huge marketing machine behind "Organic" movements that, as this article relates, obscures actual community repercussions and mainly makes those "fair weather" organic consumers feel good. Being a small farmer these days is basically a death sentence. Farmers' markets aren't as widespread or embraced (it seems to me) as they are in other countries and, as this is the most economical end point for their product, small farmers lose business to larger spreads, mostly in California. Do you remember that whole strawberry issue a few years ago?

Whatever. I should go sit in a pink room for a while and cool off. I'm a bit pissed at the moment after getting almost run over by some barbies on their way to Kell's St. Patty's party.
Posted: Mar 18, 2006 3:52 am
some barbies
love it, when their too busy multitasking they can't feel you fingering their g spot from inside those tight ass hole they gots....hat'm when they free right against the walk sign and run into my peg leg..if they don't gemme a 5er I scratch that rice burner with my hook...narrrr
Posted: Mar 18, 2006 4:00 am
troll - i'm with you there

i grew up in a part of wine country (southern part - santa barbara, ca) where there also grew strawberries and what's happened to the strawberry over the years is pretty sad.... commercial strawberries taste like styrofoam

i was a big support of senator tom harkin when he ran for president in 1992... or rather, when he was in the primaries, because i believed he was a small farm dude (ie: supporter) but that's a whole other story

i go to farmers markets whenever i can.... so long as the vendors aren't sanctimonious motherfuckers, as so many of them in the NYC greenmarkets could be

farm stands... love those.
Posted: Mar 21, 2006 5:46 pm
Posted: Mar 21, 2006 6:47 pm
There's a book called Reefer Madess (I think by the same author as Fast Food Nation) - the part on strawberries has totally changed my strawberry buying. I try not to buy any strawberries from Cali since it seems to be a really fucked up situation between the farmers, contract farmers, illigal immigrants, etc.

I LOVE farmers markets. This is the first summer I'm going to buy a share in a local farm - it's a couple hundred dollars, but you go once and week and get a big grocery bag of produce and flowers. They have a whole lotta selection and the farmhands pick it, or you can go and pick your own peas, strawberries, flowers, herbs, etc. I wish community supported agriculture was bigger.

I'd love to open a place like this:
Posted: Mar 21, 2006 7:56 pm
Yeah, there's a nice batch of small, local business here in PDX that do try to serve only locally produced things - which, while not always visible to the clientele, goes a long way to sustaining the local farmers and ranchers.

When it comes to Farmer's Markets, we have about five here that operate fairly regularly, but they aren't as marketed or attended like the type of Farmer's Markets I'm used to. I've lived in other countries and the Farmer's Markets were generally a major hub of social and economic activity, especially in cities that were heavily multicultural. Not only would you be doing your produce shopping, you would be getting meats, clothing, vehicles, etc.. The ones I've been to in the U.S. in larger cities have mainly smacked of granola/yuppie/organic orientation - you know, mostly visited by people with a lifetime subscription to AdBusters or Utne Reader. I still like buying a leather belt from some seedy guy that gutted a cow a mile away.

And I do like the co-opt/adoption/subscription thing with farms, except that I think it's causing small farms to entirely change their focus from going after markets to relying upon public subscriptions to take their product. All their eggs are in one basket now, yours. Unfortunately, I've seen a lot of small farms go under here when their business model is based soley upon subscription. Like I said, death sentence.
Posted: Mar 21, 2006 8:10 pm
I don't know...I think that the "subscription" thing is awesome and might be easier for smaller farms then trying to distribute. The farms around here (NE Massachusetts) have WAITING lists for people who want a share in the farm. They have to have lotteries every year to let new people in. It seems the demand is there for them. AND they can collect the money from the beginning - with distribution they have a constant accounts receivable battle. Distribution is undeniably more time consuming. It seems there is always a bigger company (whether it be produce/beverage/whatever industry) waiting to "sweeten" the deal with free product or other types of kickbacks.

There's a farm around here that has a farm stand on their property and I've also seen their strawberries in a local "green grocer" and their corn at the local grocery chain! I'm sure some sort of balance between doing their own on-premise sales and distribution is probably the most stable.

Viva los farmerinos!
Posted: Mar 21, 2006 8:28 pm
That sounds great. I think there might be too much subscription competition here, perhaps that's why it seems to be a bit unstable. There's loads of pick your own too, which is nice. Whatever. I just wanted to rant a bit about organic trends and how a lot of people think they make a difference by subscribing to it instead of taking the time to learn about the big picture. In the end Rupert Murdoch will own everything.
Posted: Mar 21, 2006 8:52 pm
I heard that the whole "organic" thing is sorta a scam - well, as far as having the USDA Organic stamp on it. I don't know that much about it - but my understanding is that there can be two farms - let's say a dairy farm. They both don't use antibiotics or growth hormones in their cows, treat their cows well, etc. - but one has 25 cows and the other has 150 cows. The 25 cow farm gets the organic stamp on their cartons because they fall under the "US Organic" recommended # of cows even though they're basically the same.
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