As I drove by so many farms in every state, I became very thankful for what farmers provide all of us and was very happy that they do it.
From farms that were big or small and all the variety that they provide, farmers don't get the gratitude they deserve for what they do.
As a society, we are so far removed from our food chain that it scares me to think what would happen if we don't keep our farms.
Denise and I support our Farmer's Market that they hold across the street on the Town Common. When we are in Vermont at our camp we visit both the Hardwick and Montpelier Farmer's Markets on Friday and Saturday, respectively. After my trip I have even a greater appreciation for the food products that our Nation's farmers bring to the market. Buying local produce may be a few more pennies than the grocery store, it is generally a better quality product. Who doesn't like the garden grown tomato vs the tasteless hothouse ones in the grocery chain. Quality! Not only quality but what about the car on footprint of the hothouse tomato. How much fuel did it take to get to the store.
It's Farmers Market season and you have a choice on what you buy and where you buy it.
This is not to take away from the farmers that mass produce our food as this is necessary in cities and all of us in other seasons.
While sitting in a restaurant in Illinois farm country, near where I took the picture above, a farm family came in for a Friday night meal out. They sat a few booths from me and they seemed to be regulars based on the conversation they had with the waitress. My mind began to drift as I sat by myself with my dinner thinking of what their life was like. What time did they get up this morning? What kind of produce comes from their farm? What was their day like? What work still needs to be done when they get home tonight? And so on.
My mind began to shift to placing myself in their shoes and would I have opted for this way of life? Even if I had been brought up farming, would I have stayed to help manage the family farm? My mind said no but I wanted to say yes, but I knew that this farm life isn't for everyone. I then thought what if we didn't have enough young people to keep the farms going? What would happen?
Then I thought how loosely organized the systems of getting farm products to the store and then to the plate on the table. Somehow food gets from the farm to the distributor to the store to the customer. There is no source organizing food delivery systems. It has grown from the local markets to large farms to large distribution systems to grocery stores everywhere. Somehow it all happens!
Oh, I am so glad that we have farmers that put their hearts and souls into their work. This is an appreciation that grew from my trip.
The next time you have a chance go to a farmer's market and talk to the people that sell the products. Ask them about their life as a farmer and find out about their produce. Many are more than willing to have you as a regular customer. Some farmers these days sell shares (CSA) to their farm to help stabilize their income. Denise and I can't take advantage of weekly produce for a one time fee due to our schedules but we would if we could.
We all need to be a little bit closer to where our food comes from to respect how much work goes into getting it to your table.
This link helps explains about CSA's. http://www.localharvest.org/csa/
Check out Westminster's Farmers Market webpage. http://www.westminstermafarmersmarket.com