Thursday, April 14, 2016

About That Tampa Bay Article

If you look closely, and you know a lot, you can see this basil is about to die.
This article about Tampa Bay restaurants is blowing up the internet.

As a small farm owner, I can say this is probably true in most places.


When I have discussed growing schedules with restaurant owners, one big problem is: if you buy locally, you will be eating the same thing all summer. How many squash specials can they sell every week? Additionally, all the restaurants would be serving squash all summer. Seasonal veggies last the whole season. And if it's a good okra year, all the farms will have plenty, and all the farms will be having a bad tomato year simultaneously. Americans no longer eat things they don't like just because that's what's available. Try getting somebody to have a radish special because that's what's growing well this week. 

From a farm perspective, growing...
50 different crops requires 50 different growing schedules, harvesting schedules, equipment, plant knowledge, knowledge of all the diseases that attack the 50 different crops, etc. 
Same Basils


Sourcing produce is a job too, like farming or owning a restaurant. Nobody can do all jobs at once. Farmers in one area where I lived all got a snide letter from a man trying to start a farmers market. He was angry because the farmers didn't want to come sell produce. What he didn't get was: retail sales is a job too, and it's not the same job as farming. Can't do them both at once. I can't take two days to pack, unpack, build displays, sell or maybe not sell, break it all back down and carry it all back home, in hopes of making sales. A LOT of the farmers you see at the popular markets could really be classified as gardeners. They have other jobs to pay the bills. Some of the ones that don't, get government assistance to stay afloat. If radishes and okra are all that is ready that week and you don't buy them, that farmer will be eating them for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Same basils

It is hard to make people understand that if they want seasonal food, they have to be willing to eat some things they don't like. Basil and tomatoes don't grow year-round unless you live at the equator. Even there, sometimes the basil gets downy mildew and the tomatoes get Fusarium.

You can't have your ideals and expect your favorite foods at the same time. That's not how life works on a farm. Or in a restaurant. 
Same basils. This was the crop, our main crop that year, and it got a disease.

No comments:

Post a Comment