or through the right lens, it all looks so bountiful,
and beautiful. And it is.
The farmer looks so happy. When not drop dead exhausted, he is!
But there is a reason that organic vegetables cost more than conventionally grown, and that the farmer has to have his back adjusted.
Without chemicals, there is a much greater use of the hands and the back.
For every row of tomatoes (or beans or peppers or potatoes) that beat the disease and the insects, there are often one or two rows of those that don’t survive.
Behind every tender okra lies a plant that itches the farmers so badly that they have to wear long sleeves in the heat in order to pick it.
Beneath many of the beautiful butterflies and moths lie their progeny – caterpillars that eat great holes out of the plants:I remember the first time that I bought an organic pepper. I was flabbergasted by the price. It was soon after falling for Nicolas, 15 years ago. I went to the Dekalb Farmers Market to buy food for a party. It was in December so, duh!, pepper was not in season, not available locally and the one I chose was orange, so had stayed on the vine a long time to turn that color. I didn’t think seasonally or locally then. I hadn’t yet farmed in the middle of winter (hands freezing in the outdoor sink’s water to rinse the greens) or in the dogs days of a Georgia August.
Now, I get it.
This post resulted from Nicolas mentioning that some new customers don’t want to pay for the tomatoes. All he really wanted to point out was that the heirloom tomato at your local farmers’ market was not picked green; rather, it was allowed to ripen on the vine. Faster methods of ripening the tomatoes wouldn’t allow nature the time it takes to bring forth the best quality. I just wanted to add that it isn’t just time, but also loving, back-breaking, slow attention that has gone into bringing forth this fruit.