Thursday, May 26, 2011


The asparagus season will be coming to a close soonish. I know because I asked the man who I buy it from every Sunday how much was left and how much longer I could expect it. I'm starting to get tired of it (it's only in season a few weeks! You have to eat as much of it as you can!) but I don't want to miss the last bunch of this year because I'm getting bored and decide not to get any one week. Farmer man said that there isn't much left - another week or two - but he's keeping a few bunches aside for me in case I get to the market late.

He also grows cut flowers. Two weeks ago, while C was away, he had the first Sweet Williams. I must have looked sad or something because he gave me a bunch with my asparagus and strawberries. They are still on the table, beautifully scented and holding their colour - he said they sometimes last three weeks. There should be astors soon.

He's just one of a handful of farmers that I have got to know at the markets in the past couple of years. (See I know I'm Lucky) I like that my shopping habits supports them and allows them to continue to bring me excellent products. Virtuous circle.

But you can't get everything from the farmer's market. For some items there is no season in England. So while I don't ever buy asparagus from Peru, I do buy mango, rice, garlic, etc etc from the corner store and the local Tesco. And so I think about the farmers I support by purchasing mangoes. Or frozen peas. If everyone stops buying mangoes what will the mango farmers eat?  (Besides mangoes.) How does buying my ingredients from farmer A in England affect farmer B in Pakistan (where my basmati rice comes from)?

No answers, just the pieces of a conversation I am having in my head and that I would welcome people's thoughts on.

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