Forgive Me God, For I … Hate Farmers Markets.
There, I said it.
I can count the number of times I’ve been to the farmers market on one hand even though our adorable little Hudson River, New York village of 9,000 holds a really great one every Saturday and everyone goes. It’s the place to be.
That’s the problem and exactly why I hate it. It feels like an outdoor Whole Foods market gone wild where everybody is impossibly hip and suddenly gluten free. I am simply not able to withstand the social pressure of being there with the cool kids. First, I don’t have the look down. My jeans never get smaller and my scarf never drapes in that seemingly effortless fashionista kind of way. I also don’t own a pair of aviator sunglasses (mine are brown plastic prescription) but most of all, I’m not from Brooklyn.
What’s more, I can’t cement any resemblance of the de rigueur yoga goddess look even if I had all the props: bamboo baby stroller, nonchalant arm-in-arm husband, dangly earrings, or reusable designer bags. And if I brought my dog, Mesa, he would undoubtedly do something really, really bad like pull me across the parking lot to jump on the fishmonger’s table and send his smelt flying.
I understand why people like farmer’s markets. I really do. It’s their undying need to support local economies and the idea of buying fresh from the farmer relieves their food fears after reading Omnivore’s Dilemma and Fast Food Nation.
It’s just that I don’t like the arena of social pressure while shopping. That’s what cocktail parties are for—to size up who’s who while chit chatting and elbowing your way over to the perceived most important people at the party.
At least at the grocery store, you can always skip an aisle to avoid conversing with the gaggle of PTA parents, but here it’s expected! It’s part of the experience. Bring the whole family! Let’s chat!
The other big problem I have is guilt. I end up feeling badly for not buying a $10 all natural non-GMO vegan gluten-free organic free range hormone free non-animal tested grass fed chocolate chip cookie even though I didn’t ask to being handed a sample or a food sermon in the first place. While I sympathize with the amount of work it took to hand raise those hydroponically grown baby Amazon Rainforest cacao plants in your LEED certified solar powered barn, anyone with real kids knows they will plow through an entire bag of Chips Ahoy faster than you can say, “Save some for me.” It would cost me $100 or 10 cookies to get the same effect as a $4.99 13 oz. bag of the mass produced store bought variety. I like getting a lot for a little as opposed to a little for a lot, even if it means trace amounts of OMG! high fructose corn syrup. Stop the presses!
I really would love to support my local farmers all the time, but doing so would bump up my grocery tab by as much as 50%. Not only that, but then I have to go shopping twice in order to buy everything else. Call me crazy but I am time-strapped and I value a good buy, such as a five pound bag of carrots for $5.00 over three hydroponically grown carrots for $5.00. Don’t judge me for making honey glazed cooked carrots while everyone else is juice cleansing.
Finally, and possibly the worst part about farmers markets are the people asking you to sign their dog park petitions, join their anti-fracking protests, donate to their scout group, or listen to the host of live musicians playing Peter, Paul and Mary folk music to authenticate your farm to table experience. People actually stand there tapping their feet to the music or worse yet, dancing!
I actually find myself quietly singing along to every word of Bread’s “Baby I’m-A Want You” and Barry Manilow’s “Mandy” while perusing the frozen food section at our local A&P grocery store, which my friend, Kim, calls AP&Poo.
That’s how I roll.