Market Thaw

March 20, 2011

Farmer's Market

The days are getting longer, the temperatures are above freezing, but the arrival of locally-grown green vegetables can’t come fast enough. We don’t have many alternatives here in New England, but even buying from organic farms in Florida feels like cheating. Unfortunately, I’ve learned that out-of-state produce may be our only viable option this season.

But first, yesterday’s haul: chocolate banana bread, potato bread, eggs, a porterhouse steak, chocolate-covered hazelnuts (How did I ever survive without these?), Jerusalem artichokes, duck confit-shiitake-giner ravioli (from a new vendor), and still-hot cider doughnuts.

While talking to Kate, my favorite local farmer, I learned that many of the Massachusetts farms are weeks behind in getting their vegetable crops started. Unlike southern and western states, who draw most of their seasonal labor from central America, New England farm labor comes from Jamaica. Due to some retaliatory nonsense between the US and Jamaica involving the legal status of captured drug lord Christopher Coke, all Jamaican work visas have been delayed. If the situation isn’t resolved soon, then local farms will never get caught up, and will have a severely shortened growing season, if they manage to have one at all.

I don’t want to lose my supply of local meat and veggies, so I’m writing to our senators about this. Their failure to act will result in another sector of the state economy being allowed to disappear. That would leave us in the unfortunate position of buying from out of state, or, even worse, having to shop at the Food Hole. And no one wants that.

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