I asked Kansas City-based Gen X Mom Sarah Krause, frequent contributor to the Fresh Talk blog, to look at the topic of farmer's marketers and community supported agriculture. Interviewing more than a dozen of her friends plus a retail source or two, Sarah delivers a honest commentary that describes the wide spectrum of attitudes about this hot topic.
The trend of eating local hits home
By Sarah Krause
In the spring and early summer, consumers’ interest in farmer’s markets and community supported agriculture (CSA) kicks into gear, as local fruits and vegetables begin to emerge. Moms, especially, want to shop local. We are concerned about what we feed our families and want to teach our children about healthy food choices. Local supermarkets begin displaying local produce to entice shoppers. This always catches my attention, especially if it’s designed to look like a farmer’s market with wooden crates, awnings and hand-drawn signage. I’ve been known to buy the entire basket of small pickling cucumbers to make bread and butter pickles all summer long. A favorite Saturday activity for my family is to visit farmer’s markets – bonus if we happen upon one during a day trip in the area. One cool find last summer: white heirloom cucumbers.
One long-time produce manager recently told me that the local food trend is strong, and he makes local produce available to his customers all summer. The store displays the local goods -- such as tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, squash, melons, greens -- outside as much as possible to attract customer attention. He said people want to know where the fruits and vegetables come from, so he and his team get as much information as possible on each locally-grown item to display alongside. “Customers really like it when produce has the exact place it’s from,” he said.
The local food movement is attractive to many “green-thinking moms,” as one mom refers to herself. Erin, mom of two boys, said she began looking for local foods so her kids would know where food comes from. “What I like is that you’re supporting local enterprise and often seeing and interacting with the person growing your produce. It helps you appreciate food and be connected to it.” Another mom of two, Christy, agreed. “I like to strike that balance between supporting local farmers along with eating (produce) and serving it to my kids.”
While most of the moms had their favorite farmer’s markets to visit, many were either unfamiliar with the term “CSA” or knew of them but gave various reasons to not use them. “I don’t do it because it seems like a big commitment, like I’m committed to having to go to the grocery store to pick it up every Saturday,” said Courtney, mom of one. “Also, I don’t like to be surprised, so I wouldn’t want foods I’ve never heard of or don’t like,” she added. Vacations or forgetfulness would get in her way, mom of two Jeanne said. “I think (CSAs) are a great idea, but we would end up never using it.”