I like the idea of shopping at the farmers market. I really do. It puts you face to face with the person producing the food that you put into your body. Unfortunately, it’s this intimacy that makes people think they can say anything to anybody and not have to explain themselves.
I was walking around the Troy Farmers Market one March afternoon, and I was standing at a booth waiting to make a purchase. Rather than name the stand, I’ll explain that it’s not a farmer, and that they produce a product that is predominantly made from sugar. It can be a handful of places, but you can use your imagination to figure out who it is if you care; it’s not necessarily important to the story.
A young girl who was hopping from booth to booth not buying anything was right in front of me at the booth. She asked the person at the booth, “so do you use local sugar in your products?”
I don’t want to get into the debate over whether someone not growing something should be allowed at a farmers market, but, let’s leave it at, if the people who put together the one in Troy allow it, it should be there.
I think that the person at the booth did a great job of maintaining composure and answering the question and gave the girl much more information than she needed.
The simple answer is “no; sugar doesn’t grow in NY state or in the northeast US.” Period.
The more complicated answer is that the girl should have gotten beaten over the head with a stick of Hawaiian sugar cane.
The person at the booth’s answer included an explanation of Hawaiian cane, and went into pros and cons of that economy, and, in the end, the girl just walked away having the sample the vendor graciously provided; the girl didn’t make a purchase. The vendor was visibly upset by the exchange, and rightfully so. I felt really bad for the vendor.
Kids say the darnedest things.