Farmer Wars — The Wal Mart Conundrum

Health, quality, ethics and affordability.

Yum!  Don't you just wanna eat 'em up?Lately we’ve been big on produce at the Daring household to the tune of about 8 lbs lost and increased regularity amongst the preschool faction.  We’re liking this change so well, that we’ve decided to branch out from our normal produce buying habits.

Enter the local farmers’ markets.  Several of the smaller towns around Seattle have weekly farmers’ markets where you can buy direct from local growers.  There’s a great community feel at the markets and I think it really makes a difference to support local business.

Sometimes you may have to buy the long orange sweet pepper, rather than the big red bell pepper you’d get at el-grocer, but sometimes you find a new vegetable you’ve never heard of and the proud booth owner is exceedingly happy to educate you on the merits of lemon-cucumbers.  And she’s right.  They are less bitter than regular cucumbers and extremely delicious.

Speaking of bitter, there seems to be some sort of silent feud going on at the market between the organic and non-organic growers, who seem to get much more business at their stands.  The non-organic growers have a much larger selection, and lower prices.  The organic growers have more passion, more unique specimens and sometimes dreadlocks.

Sometimes we buy organic.  Sometimes not.  It seems that the cool kids are all going organic.  You know?  The people who actually care about their families’ health.

I would love to go organic, free range, hormone and antibiotic-free, all-the-bad-things-that-are-probably-taking-months-off-our-lives-and-killing-our-dear-mother-earth-as-I-type-this-free.

But it all comes down to choices.  Do I eat a dead happy chicken’s breasts for $8.99/lb or do I snarf down the also deceased miserable little guy, whose hormone-injected flesh will likely cause Laylee to reach puberty around age 5 for $2.25/lb.

If I go for option A, we pretty much say goodbye to other luxuries such as window treatments, dental floss and most other food items we might enjoy for the purpose of sustaining life.

If I choose option B and I end up buying brassieres in 5T for a child who’s completely resistant to all forms of antibiotics and growing a third arm, I’m gonna feel exceedingly guilty.

Option B always carries a large amount of guilt.  I feel guilty that I cried when we got to Washington and realized there wasn’t a Super Wal Mart within driving distance.  I don’t want to feed the empire, offering up the carcasses of smaller businesses to its gaping monopolistic maw. 

I do however want to feed my family.  I want the food to be healthful but I also want it to be cheap.  Farmer’s market or Mega-grocer?  Happy happy free-range or Chicken coop hell?  Local or dun-dun-dun Western Washingtonian?  Organic or affordable?  Gala or Granny Smith? 

After I find a comfortable solution to these burning questions, maybe I can figure out how to get Laylee (3) to eat as much as Magoo (1).

Where do you stand in the farmer wars?  And, really, how do you live with yourself?

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