Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It's Not As Easy As You Think

Some days I feel like I'm on a seesaw. The mission of Sappington Farmers Market is to provide healthy local foods to the consumer while providing a fair profit to the farmer. Sounds great, doesn't it? Well, it is great. But that doesn't make it easy.

Some weeks we are loaded with fresh, local produce that nobody seems to want. Then the next week, we get lots of new shoppers looking for all the produce we just had to throw away because nobody bought it. We're still trying to figure out this balancing act.

One thing I do know. When we get a really superior product like our free-range heritage chickens from Cord Jenkins or our source-verified all-natural beef from MO Best Beef Cooperative, it's going to cost more. And that's where you come in. If you're reading this, I know you're a supporter of the independent farmers who provide the great, fresh food you want to eat. Well, those farmers have a lot more costs associated with producing that fresh food than the large corporations do. None of them ask for a high profit. And neither do we. But the prices you see on these items are higher than conventional foods-or even higher than some more corporate and non-local organic items. We think there's a tremendous quality difference and that there's also a moral and philosophical issue involved. We think you agree. There's only one way to make it work. If we all want fresh, local food, we're going to have to pay for it.

In these very trying financial times, the decision of what to pay for your food, and how to prioritize your purchases is a very serious one. Let us know where you draw the line. Post on this blog or put notes in our suggestion box. I really do think we're the only store that really listens. Because we're the farmer-owned grocery store--and because all of us farmers who own the store are also consumer advocates. You can't beat that. Our goal is to provide what you want to eat. Let us know.


  1. I wish I had access to Sappington!! Sadly, the 13+ hour drive is a bit of a deterrent :) With four little ones to feed, I would jump at the chance to buy local (too bad there isn't much of that option where I live). What peace of mind there is in knowing where your food comes from! I don't want to give my kids anything that's bad for them. And that includes chemicals and pesticides and hormones and who-knows-what-else that comes as a by-product of buying non-local food. I think the peace of mind of feeding my family healthy, nourishing food with no hidden/harmful "ingredients" definitely outweighs a little extra cost up front. (Besides, you'll save with way fewer doctor bills later on, right? So, really, it's an investment :)

  2. That big pile of fresh corn in the picture is making me drool! However, every time I have been in Sappington Market over the last few weeks the only fresh corn available is already shucked and shrink wrapped on the Styrofoam tray. What am I missing? I really want my fresh corn this summer!

    Also, on a suggestion note. Why use the Styrofoam trays? I cannot recycle them and feel horrible every time I throw them in the trash destined for the landfill.

    Thanks, Kathleen