The Star-Herald

More rage-y (or at least a little miffed)

Picture yourself making a supreme effort to mark a momentous occasion — a wedding anniversary, a big promotion, adulthood arriving as the result of becoming a parent.

You pull out all the stops: reservations for you and that special someone at a world-class restaurant with thick white tablecloths, shining crystal, and a plethora of highly polished silverware arranged just so.  You make sure you are served by a solicitous waitstaff who bend over backward to anticipate your wants and needs before you even know they exist.  Your meal is prepared by a top chef, mouthwatering dishes seasoned to perfection with scents as heady as lilacs.

Everything is meticulously managed, right down to an extensive wine list and a dessert cart featuring delectable decadence.  

You are convinced that your thoughtful gift will be appreciated and remembered fondly.  At the end of the evening, you hear a common management refrain.  “How was everything?”  Now imagine how you feel if the recipient of your largesse responds, “We could have just gone to McDonald’s.”

In an article from Eating Well magazine (May/June 2017), a writer from Vermont shares her list of “Things You Should Never, Ever Say at a Farmers’ Market.”  The suggestions are so familiar that it seems like a universal theme for vendors everywhere, including members of the Presque Isle Farmers’ Market.  

Farming is who we are and not just what we do.  We work hard to bring our customers the very best that we have to offer.  We choose breeds of animals that we can pasture raise in housing that meets their needs, rather than the strictures of mechanized farming.  It may be a longer wait to get the beasts to market weight, but we consider the result to be worth the extra time and labor invested.  

We select varieties of fruits and vegetables that offer tastes and textures that are far superior to the foodstuffs generated on factory farms and that thrive in our sometimes challenging climate.  We accommodate heirloom varieties that may generate less tonnage, but much more “taste-age.”  At harvest, we may resort to hand labor to select items at their absolute peak, often rising before the sun on Saturday mornings to bring to our customers desirable products that are as fresh as they can be.  

So when we hear comments like, “It is cheaper at Walmart,” we have no good response.  When people help themselves to samples from all the vendors without making a single purchase or when they handle and squeeze every single item before purchasing a lone tomato, we can’t help noticing.  When customers suspiciously pick over the produce like we are trying to pull a fast one, it hurts.  At the very least, it is a sign that it might be more than just getting “rage-y” and needing to remember to eat.

The Presque Isle Farmer’s market’s president is Kevin Ehst of Hidden Meadow Farm in Bridgewater. For information about participating or visiting the market, contact him at 425-4050 or via email at kevins@ehst.com.

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