We spent the morning at a local farmer’s market. It is actually one of the biggest in our state. They provide live music and we were there watching our boys perform. They do an unplugged set at the entrance of the market, and another band performs in the middle of it all, usually a full fledged band. Our boys were there every other Saturday last year too. We met some interesting people, and tasted some really good food last year, and it looks like we have the same to look forward to this year as well.
Although it is a decent size farmer’s market with over 65 vendor’s booths, I have noticed that not all vendors sell farm products. There was a jewelery booth there, a ceramics booth, a local coffee vendor and various other non-farm related booths, which is typical, I’m sure, but it just makes me wonder, where have all the farmer’s gone?
My grandfather was a farmer. Both sets of grandparents actually. My parents were raised on farms. My two brothers, and my husband worked on a farm as teens. Our youngest son worked on a farm for a few months milking the cows and goats, gathering eggs, tending the livestock. We had an interesting conversation with the woman he worked for not too long ago. She was talking about how many dairy farms there were in a 15 mile radius some 30 years ago compared to now. The number has greatly decreased.
I noticed as I walked by the vendor booths today that most of the farms represented were from other counties, some over an hours drive away. This gives me a bit of concern. There seems to be a trend where people are having self-sustaining farms, which is great, but where does the produce and dairy products that are in our stores come from? How many miles do they travel? How fresh are these items? Where have all the farmers gone and will the trend of the big-time farm continue it’s downward spiral? Will the trend of small family farms continue to grow as we are seeing in our neck of the woods?
Maybe I’m wrong and it’s not a big deal but then again, maybe it is…