Letter to the Editor: Catch a Ride to Market (via email)

The Valley Advocate, Jul 31, 2017

I live in Springfield, and am the manager of the farmers market at Forest Park. (Tuesday afternoons from 12:30-6 p.m., May through October); I am very familiar with the farm to table movement [“Can Western Mass Support Farm-To-Table For Everyone?” July 27-31, 2017]. We live in an area that is blessed with some rich farmland, and we still have many people who are willing to do the hard work of farming. However, when I hear someone say that farmers markets are expensive, I will say that they are confusing price and value. Also we have accepted EBT/SNAP benefits since 2008. We also accept WIC and elder coupons as well as the new HIP benefits.

Produce purchased at a farmers market (for the most part) is often fresher than in a store, and it will last longer. Just the other day a customer told me that they had purchased bok choi at our market two weeks earlier and had just used it; it was still perfect. You often have varieties at a farmers market that you don’t find in stores because it might be unusual, or not something that will travel the many hundreds of miles that most produce travels to get to us.

I suggest that if anyone reading this has a neighbor or friend who needs a ride to any farmers market, that you offer them one. Not only will you be helping them, you will be helping the farmers and other market vendors, all of whom are local, to earn a living.

— Belle Rita Novak, Springfield