Forgive Me God, For I … Hate Farmers Markets.
There, I said it.
I can count the number of times I’ve been to a farmers market on one hand, even though our adorable little Hudson River village holds a really great one every Saturday and everyone goes. It’s the place to be.
That’s the problem and it’s why I don’t typically go. It feels like a Whole Foods market gone wild where everybody is impossibly hip and suddenly gluten-free and I’m left to stick out like a sore turnip. I’ve faced it. I’m just not one of the cool kids. For starters, I don’t have a bamboo baby stroller, arm-in-arm husband, or fabric grocery bags. My kids are teenagers. I’m single (widowed). And I always forget the reusable bags in the back seat of my Subaru.
I also don’t have the yoga goddess look down: my scarf never drapes in that seemingly effortless fashionista kind of way. I don’t own a pair of aviator sunglasses (mine are brown plastic prescription bifocals). And I don’t wear size 0 jeans. But most of all, while we are technically from Brooklyn, we had a nine year stop off in Yonkers first.
All of that aside, even when I do go to a farmers market, I always leaving empty-handed. I simply can’t justify buying a $4 all natural non-GMO vegan gluten-free organic free range hormone free non-animal tested grass fed chocolate chip cookie. While I recognize the amount of work it took to hand raise those hydroponically grown baby Amazon Rainforest cacao plants in that 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 $40 to get half the effect of 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 eating trace amounts of OMG! high fructose corn syrup. Stop the presses! At the end of the day, I need a good buy, such as a five pound bag of carrots for $5.00 over three hydroponically grown carrots for $5.00. So please don’t judge me for cooking the carrots for dinner rather juicing them in my $250 Breville.
Still, I’m torn like a lettuce leaf over the guilt of it all. Buying fresh from the farmer, especially the organic farmer, is good for everyone. It supports local business. Obliterates GMOs. And makes the world a more environmentally sound place. But why all the social elbowing to prove it? That’s what cocktail parties are for—to size up who’s who before making your way over to the most popular people at the party.
At least at the grocery store, you can always skip an aisle to avoid conversing with your neighbor, or the group of PTA parents who work to improve student life while you’ve done nothing to support the schools. But here at the farmers market it’s expected! It’s part of the experience. Bring the whole family! And the dog! Let’s chat about the parent portal!
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, they start dancing!
I’m guilty of 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.
PS- If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and read Omnivore’s Dilemma about how the modern American supermarket and fast-food outlets confront us with a bewildering and treacherous food landscape.