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  • Robert Bruce Adams

What's Local?


I LIKE MICHAEL POLLAN’S WRITING, and if we were ever to meet I’m guessing I would like him too. He’s kind of nerdy, and very insightful. It seems my maturity today favors these characteristics that I may have been quick to criticize during my youth. His paragraphs in Omnivores Dilemma, Page 123, describe his thoughts in his bunk bed as he was falling asleep after putting up hay all day at a Virginia farm – dedicated to gather first-hand farm experiences for his book on food in the USA.

“I’d spent the afternoon making hay, really just lending a hand to a farmer making hay, and after a few hours in the midday sun hoisting and throwing fifty-pound bales onto a hay wagon, I hurt. We think of grass as soft and hospitable stuff, but once it’s been dried in the sun and shredded by machines-once it becomes hay- grass is sharp enough to draw blood and dusty enough to thicken lungs. I was covered in chaff, my forearms tattooed red with its pinpricks.”

"If in the event I survive the week, I would never again begrudge a farmer any price he cared to name for his produce: one dollar for an egg seemed entirely reasonable; fifty dollars for a steak a steal.” MP

In my own writings I have often challenged this position as I was brought up under the efficient producer umbrella, so I am aware that Pollan offers another side of the coin. It helps me be less judgmental of the pricing of local beer, wine, and strawberries. But only a little. $5 for a pint of Bardenhagen strawberries? I might point out that California strawberries could be had for $1.67 a pint last week at my local supermarket.

My own confusion shows as I reluctantly reach deep in my pocket to pay for local fare. What adds further to my puzzle is the belief that the local beer distributor needs income too. This thought swirls in my head as I’m downing a PBR for a $1.50 at my nearby pub and the aluminum can states it was bottled in California.

I’ll figure this pricing puzzle out. Someday.


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©2017 by Robert Bruce Adams, Author and Humorist