it’s about the berries. they’re not local.
You ought to have seen what I saw on my way
To the village, through Mortenson’s pasture to-day:
Blueberries as big as the end of your thumb,
Real sky-blue, and heavy, and ready to drum
I picked up a quart of deep red strawberries at the local farmer’s market on Tuesday. They were juicy, achingly sweet and perfect. Is there any other reason for the month of June?
I noticed at least fifty flats of blueberries at the booth. I asked the farmer where they came from since it seems a little early in the season. Michigan maybe?
I understand we had a late hard frost and probably won’t be seeing many peaches and blueberries out of Michigan, but it shocked me that the market is selling non-organic blueberries from Florida. We can get those at any grocery store in town. I know our farmers need to make a living even when the weather isn’t favorable, but it hardly seems in the spirit of things. Though, there is strong local demand (judging from the number of flats being sold).
I also hate to write this because I’m a firm small farmer supporter, but the blueberries didn’t have a sign indicating state of origin and it was very clear that shoppers were excited about them and assumed they were from Michigan (still over 100 miles away). The people working the stand were not correcting their assumptions.
Blueberries mean income and I want our farmers to do well, but at the same time it seems strange to head on over to the town square to get some blueberries from Florida. I’ve never seen a pineapple or mango at our market and we all understand our climate isn’t right, so why can’t we just accept that sadly, this summer, the climate isn’t right and we won’t be seeing blueberries?
Why? Because it’s summertime and the American people want their blueberries big and perfect and here and now.
You may be thinking that supporting a local farmer and his “imports” is much more palatable than heading over to a Wal-Mart superstore to get the same ones and while I don’t disagree, I still find it disappointing on some level.
On a much more positive note, how about some berry poetry? I scoured the poems of my favorites (Pablo Neruda, ee cummings and Hafiz), but found nary a berry poem among them.