Community Philosphy Blog and Library

Posts Tagged ‘steveparker’

HOMEGROWN Life: Support Your Local Farmer, Or My Mercedes Might Get Repossessed

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

 

 

 

 

 

$3 a  pound for apples. $2 a pound for butternut squash. $3.50 for a bunch of beets. $4 a pound for green beans. $5 a pound for tomatoes and eggs at the low, low price of $5 for a half dozen.

These are some of the prices I have seen or heard of at various farmers markets around Boston. You would think that I, as a farmer selling at these markets, would be thrilled to see produce fetching so much, but I am not. I feel that, in the long run, these inflated prices will hurt farmers markets by limiting who is able to afford to shop at them.
“I don’t want a parent to have to think about whether they can afford to give a kid an apple or a peach with their lunch” says Steve Violette, owner of Dicks Market Garden here in Lunenburg, explaining why he is not charging what some consider the going rate for those crops. “I dont want to see lower income people priced out of certain crops. And with some of the prices being charged, it seems as if that is happening.” He says that a parent shouldn’t feel guilty because they can’t afford to buy a peach for a kid.
The rise in popularity of the farmers markets has been great for local farmers, but not always so much for consumers as far as I am concerned. I have seen – time after time – that, rather than meet increased demand for produce by increasing production, farmers are raising prices instead, creating almost a bidding war for crops. The problem is, with the increased traffic, someone is always willing to shell out the cash. But I am afraid that many of these purchasers take the view that they are making more of a charitable donation, rather than a legitimate purchase, driven by the panic created by the save the farms movement.

While I believe that fresh, local foods grown for flavor as opposed to shipping ability deserve somewhat of a premium over commercial crops, I think that we, the farmers, have to ask ourselves what a fair premium is. And, if we want to sustain the surge in popularity of the farmers markets, we have to be careful that we don’t price things out of the range of average people. We should also keep in mind how lucky we are to live and farm in a region where we can direct market our produce to the consumer, and realize that, as Steve Violette pointed out, a lot of the premium we receive is because we are able to market crops that we might not if we where selling to a chain store or processor.

Ok, getting tired now. Got to get up and harvest in the morning.

More about Steve: “Common Ground: The Farmer and the Musician“. Parker Farm’s Facebook page is here.
Steve Parker, Parker Farm

I grow vegetables on 35-acres in Lunenberg, MA. My farm – Parker Farm – has been operating for 19 years and, if it doesn’t kill me, I’m planning to farm this land for many years to come.

News from Farmer Steve – FarmCore rocks!

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

In the spirit of celebrating change, we have an update from Farmer Steve – the heavy-metal-musician-turned-vegetable-farmer profiled here by Duncan Wilder Johnson last year. Back then, Farmer Steve said that he was happy to leave music in his past. Duncan wrote:

He was sick of it.  You would be too.  Frustrated by people who never pulled their weight, press and radio types who absolutely loved your band but never followed through with any air time or ink, and scenesters who were too concerned with their haircuts and t-shirts. Most of all, there was little to no money in music.  Let’s face it, unless you were Keith Richards, being in a band sucked.

Turns out Farmer Steve, with the encouragement of a new lady musician love, has started playing music again. Here’s what he wrote in an email:

We are doing sort of hard core versions of old murder ballads,I call the music FarmCore. Lot of fun. The other exciting thing is that my old band, Strange flesh, is getting back together for a reunion show-which means I have started playing drums again-its coming back to me pretty well-I think Duncan’s article got me thinking a little more about music than I had in years.

We know that musicians and farmers are cut from the same independent, resourceful and tenacious cloth. We just think that the joining of the two – now officially known in Massachusetts as FarmCore – holds incredible promise!