One of revolution’s definitions is a dramatic and wide reaching change in the way something works or is organized or in people’s ideas about it. On the 4th of July we celebrate our countries victory over England more than 250 years ago. We are so far removed from that time period that it is difficult to comprehend the courage it took to stand up against such a formidable foe. Even though we learn about this topic in grade school and celebrate our victory every year, we often forget about an important aspect of this time period. We often picture all the colonists banning together against England, but Historian Robert Calhoon said the consensus of historians is that only 40-45% of the population living in the colonies supported the Patriots cause, 15-20% supported the loyalists and the rest kept a low profile. Why not 100%?! It is often hard to be part of a revolution because it means we have to fight against ideas and beliefs that have been ingrained in us by our societies. I am sure many people living during the revolutionary war believed life would just be easier if they allowed England to remain in control. I am sure many people believed they could not possibly protect themselves or live in an economically viable country without England’s help. Hence, the reason why the majority of people did not take action during the revolution. What does this have to do with a farming blog?
My experience at the Easton Farmer’s Market this past Saturday got me thinking about this topic. However, before I explain let’s think about some of the common ideas pervasive in our society today. We are taught to be individuals and do what makes us happy, which in and of itself, seems perfectly rational, however, what happens when we do this without thinking about how our actions may affect others? Much of this has to do with how we consume products. We are taught to want the biggest, or the cheapest, or the most of everything. Think about it…bigger houses, bigger cars, bigger portions of food, on sale, buy 1 get 1 free, bargain basement prices! It is all around us all the time. We tend to be driven to buy more, while often ignoring the quality or how our purchase may affect the people making the product. It is so easy to jump at the tomatoes being sold for such a BARGAIN, without ever wondering what the person in the field picking the tomatoes is being paid to warrant a price so low. We are also taught by our society to love efficiency and speed. Again great concepts and we are always looking to be more efficient and work with more speed on our farm. However, what happens when we are so efficient and need to do everything so fast that we lose any communal aspect to our lives. Walk through the nearest grocery store and watch the show! People zooming through well maintained aisles, filling their carts as they listen to the same three songs play on the loudspeaker, only to check out by themselves through the electronic check out line. Highly efficient, and very speedy, but totally lonely! These two examples are only two of the many aspects of our lives where striving for individualism has arguably led us to lose our sense of community.
Now how does this tie into the American Revolution and the Easton Farmer’s Market. Well, I believe we are part of a revolution today. This is the food revolution taking place across America and in Easton’s center square. People across the country are fighting against popular American beliefs and voting with their dollars. On Saturday, a few hundred people descended upon Easton’s center square to take part in another week at the Farmer’s Market. But this week was different. It was July 4th and pouring rain. Nobody in their right mind would want to stand in line to buy produce, meat, cheese, etc… in the pouring rain, when they could walk through a climate controlled super market. I mean, this goes against all of our beliefs. Customers have to stand in lines, sometimes it takes more time, some products may be more expensive, and sometimes the weather is not comfortable, and yet amidst all of these negative variables they still come. These customers are deciding not to reward the efficiency, speed, and cheap cost our industrial agricultural system offers us and instead reward the local farmers in their community. But why???
Anyone who has tasted local food knows it is of better quality and far fresher, but I do not believe the food revolution is just about a tasty tomato or the health benefits of fresh kale. Instead, it is being led by people who have grown tired and lonely with American individualism and want to be part of a community. This is exactly how Jess and I feel. When we sell food at Easton, it is more than just making money for family. Many of the customers we have seen every weekend for years. We know their families and watch their children grow up. They talk to us about their lives, and get to know our family. Many customers will ask us how our daughter is doing and genuinely want to know. We all share recipes, tell stories, and even share our sorrows. Jess and I often watch a line form at our stand and fear people will get tired of waiting, only to look up and see that most of the customers know each other and don’t mind waiting because they are having conversations with friends. Art Ravitz, an Eastonian, has been helping us unpack our truck and set up for five years running. He is just another Easton citizen who loves being part of the Farmer’s Market community. There are customers who bring us gifts for our daughter, and customers we give gifts to when something special happens in their lives. These kinds of communal gestures happen so frequently at the Farmer’s Market which is what makes it so special. To us, this is why the food revolution will keep growing. The food will always taste great, but you just can’t beat the community. It is up to all of us to invite more people to be part of our community.
On this July 4th, we just want to thank all the customers and farmers who are making the food revolution possible!
This week's share consists of:
Full Share- cucumbers, green beans, lettuce mix, leeks, potatoes, red beets, eggplant, scallions, green kale, basil
Half Share- cucumbers, green beans, lettuce mix, leeks, potatoes, red beets
What can I make with my share this week?? Here are a couple of ideas!
Dijon Potato and Green Bean Salad- http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/red-potato-and-green-bean-salad-with-dijon-vinaigrette-106929. I usually substitute white wine for dry vermouth if I don't have any on hand. You can also substitute yukon gold potatoes for the red potatoes or do a combination of the two!
Pickled Beets- http://whatscookingamerica.net/Vegetables/RefrigeratorPickledBeets.htm