It’s that time of year when farmers’ markets and roadside produce stands are popping up all over. I like to go to the Bethesda Farmers’ Market on Sunday mornings to scope out the products and farmers. And I like that farmers’ markets serve as incubators for start-up producers, whether it be baked goods, small farms, pickles, or goat cheese. However, there is a profound lack of organic options.
At the Bethesda Farmers’ Market, of the 14 produce vendors, only five are organic. I cringe at the thought of chemicals being literally dumped onto local acreage polluting the beautiful Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
I visit the Northern Neck of VA frequently. I snapped this picture of a farm that is about a 1/4 mile from the Rappahannock River.
Notice that there is nothing green on all of these acres- not a single weed. How many tons of chemical herbicides were used on this land?
We have a tendency to romanticize the farmer- especially small and local farmers, regardless of whether they’re organic. In a 2012 survey, Whole Foods consumers ranked “local” as more important than “organic.” We feel that our customers prefer organic to local, with the “gold standard” being organic AND local.
My view is that unless a farmer is farming organically, he or she is part of the problem. I’d prefer that chemical farms be as far away from this area as possible.