Buy Local: The Farmer
Do you remember my neighbour in the old country called Edna?” Grandma asked. The travellers smiled and clapped in delight. They loved hearing stories about Edna.
Now, Edna was married to a wonderful man named Jonah, he was a farmer. He had chickens that provided eggs and strawberries, carrots and other veggies that he grew. Every week, Jonah would take his produce to sell in the market. It was a very simple and happy life.
That was, until one day when Jonah and Edna arrived at the market, as they usually did. They set up their stall and priced the beautiful, fresh eggs for $5 per dozen. He laid out boxes of his juicy strawberries at $7/box. He was quite happy with the produce as he had worked really hard to grow it.
However, on this day no one was buying anything. He had no idea why.
Minutes later Edna came back to their stall with some strawberries in her hand.
“Jonah, there is a new seller at the end of the market and he is selling strawberries for $4 a box, look.” She showed the strawberries to Jonah. They looked exactly like his strawberries but weren’t sweet at all. In fact, they didn’t taste like anything.
“Everyone is buying from him. Even the Mayor’s wife bought 2 boxes from him. He says he gets them from all the way in South America.”
Jonah was shocked. He had no idea what to do. There was a man selling tasteless strawberries from a different country and he had stolen all his business!
The same story repeated itself with the eggs. No one bought anything that day from Jonah because the other vendor was selling eggs from another country much cheaper. Jonah could not believe the eggs people were buying from the other vendor! His eggs were picked this morning and were as fresh as possible. The cheaper eggs being sold were stale eggs which had been picked days ago and shipped here on boats, trains and trucks!
He thought of a plan to show his regular clients how much better quality his goods were. He took a bowl of water and placed a beautiful egg from one of his hens in it. The egg lay on its side in the bottom.
“That’s the sign of the freshest eggs!” he proudly told his clients. Then he took 2 cheaper eggs from his competitor and put it in the bowl filled with water. One of them stood upright in the water, a sign that it was not fresh but could still be eaten. The second egg floated to the top. It was certainly very old and should not be eaten.
Sadly, most people really only cared about the price and how much they could save. At the end of the day, Jonah packed up everything and brought it back to their farm. He wondered how he would pay his rent that week to the landlord Baron von Greedybags.
Grandma looked at the kids, “And this shows us an important thing. When we buy from our local farmers we get a better quality because it doesn’t spend days being shipped here. The eggs and strawberries that Jonah had were fresher because they were picked that morning.
The ones that came from South America were picked several days ago. Companies pick fruits and vegetables when they are stil raw and hope they ripe while they are being transported for days.
Often, the produce is covered with gross things like chemicals or other substances to prevent them from spoiling during the long transport.”
The kids nodded, that made sense.
“From now on, I am going to really look for the ‘Local’ or ‘Made in Ontario’ sign at the market” said Teyus.