Where in world...?

An old friend phoned the other day. He never phones. But this time he just had to know: "What are you doing living in Florence?"
He thought I was in Florence, Italy. I told him it was Florence, Massachusetts.
Here are some answers -- my occasional wanderings through Florence, MA and the surrounding Pioneer Valley.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Guilt and Tomatoes

New York Times, Sun. 8/21/11
The New York Times came to Florence last Wednesday and I missed it! The Sunday edition has an article about farmers' markets and how they are suffering from a drop in sales.


This change comes less from the recession, which makes no mention in this aspect of consumerism, but in the glut of farmers' markets, according to reporter Katie Zezima. She does a good job with her feature articles about New England. But I wonder if Ms. Zezima has overlooked a growing factor in changing consumer patterns, one that I have already blogged about earlier this month. The Community Supported Agriculture phenomenon has much support, and from my own experience, the quantity of produce provided by the share portion that comes to me is large enough to make me hesitate whenever I see a produce section in a market.

It may be useful to consider how the recession has played a role in this consumer change. How many folks have taken the plunge and started a vegetable plot in their backyard, or joined a Community Garden to start their new gardening lives? How many have also had to cut back on certain items and must make do with home gardens and whatever is on sale at the local supermarket? The farmers' markets frequently accept SNAP benefits as a way to help those who are on assistance and are working to maintain good eating habits. While the farmers are engaged in entrepreneurism, they are also interested in feeding communities well in many ways, and we all benefit from participating in this connection.

Mea Culpa! I may be going to pick up the farm share tomorrow at Mountain View Farm. 

According to the New York Times, there are now twenty-three different farmers' markets right here in the Pioneer Valley. I'm ashamed to say that I only know of three of them, and I have not yet supported them. In fact, the CISA website listing local farmers and markets goes farther than Katie Zezima, presenting lots of other providers and markets, making twenty-three seem small in number.  I aim to visit the Florence Farmers' Market this Wednesday. It's right next to the Library and the Civic Center. You can see the Library in the first shot of the NYT slideshow.

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