Wednesday, September 3, 2008

What to expect at an organic farmer's market....after a farmer's gripe..




These days for Ben and I are either spent harvesting, picking everything, grading, always "crop watch" (aka, cultivation, weeding, assessment for 'disk action' -lololol!!) planting, (yes, just a short while back Ben did some direct seeding for some fall spinach and other greens); keeping up with produce orders; making sure the government is happy with all our 'forms' regarding payroll and WSIB -Weather makes no difference, paper work must be processed on time or you get some nice fines, not to mention being certified organic and keeping constant records, -BUT this benefits US in the long run. (for example Ben and I are able to look back at our chronilogical log from Aug. 2007 and see how many tomatoes we sold and in which field and how often he cultivated and weed pressure - this is key to our future success! Certification keeps you on your toes but is noteworthly for sure!!) .... and then we get to load up and sell at the markets and deal with all of you kind folk! Thank you for being generous and understanding! I would honestly say that doing 5 markets weekly we only get a tiny handful of weird, lonely people that are insistant on hounding us, the producers of their food that feel the need to give 'a negetive comment' regarding our organic produce. I've learned to not get immediately offended and swear (which I used to do with some vigor) and instead I now calmly ignor or truly engage IF I think the person is worthwhile. Some you can tell are single folk and probably for a damn good reason, and some have truly legitimate concerns or questions and don't mean to be rude. The large majority are just plain awesome decent folk that have decided that produce shopping in a grocery store is not necessary and look to us each week for seasonal goodies direct, fresh and certified organic. I find a good place with most people now, as I think our display and the markets we sell at put people in a good mood to begin with. Before anyone opens a wallet they get to see, smell and touch the local seasons offerings. They get to see the roughed up hands of the farmers that produced it all, they can ask questions and can get true answers. We've got just a few years under our belts of some 'tried, tested and true' customers and they just keep coming back and their smiles are bigger than the years before! I encourage all who do not grow their own to venture out and buy direct. NOT just at a farmer's market, FROM A FARMER! There is alot of re-selling happening which is CRAZY during peak Ontario season! Ask and always be informed! When it comes to certified organic, we are (Pro Cert Inc.) and see no reason why a farmer who claims to be 'organic' would not want to participate with a valid 3rd party audit. It's not hard, basic requirements, costs us $500 a year, one of our most basic operating expenses - don 't ask about our fuel expenses LOLOLOLOL!! Also, 'no time to do paperwork' is a lousy excuse for not being certified in my opinion. Farming is a business, period. We will always give our customers peace of mind, not just a story of where we come from.