ANZ's Farms

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sticker Shock

When I am hot and sweaty, and my back hurts, I wonder if it's all worth it. Am I really saving that much money growing my own vegetables? Do home grown veges really taste that much better? Is eating organic really that big a deal? All I need to remind me why I farm is a trip to buy food.

I took my mom to the farmer's market yesterday. Altho she is very spry at 87, the heat takes a toll. She walks with a cane, so carrying purchases can be a challenge. And she has a handicap sticker for her car, but finding a close parking place is near impossible. So we joined the throngs of people shopping local and supporting our farmers. That's a good thing!

I enjoyed seeing nature's bounty needing no adornment to be beautiful. Purple eggplant, red tomatoes, yellow squash, and so much green ... unshucked corn, beans, okra, zucchini and more. But I was in sticker shock! $3 for a cantaloupe? $2/lb for tomatoes? $5 for 8 ears of shucked corn? These are probably good prices, comparatively speaking, and certainly you get more value for the money than at the grocery produce section where veges are picked green and shipped 1500 miles on the average. But at the end of the month when you tally what comes in and what goes out, those prices bite. At least for my budget.

I have a master's degree in nursing and a real estate license. I work part-time from home doing property management and farm. I guess I could go back to nursing full-time and boost my budget. But I would miss the time spent with my animals and the wonderful sounds they make throughout the day. I would miss the dirt on my hands and the smell of the earth. I would miss the breeze that cools my sweaty skin and lifts my hair off my neck. I would miss being outside most of the day and the freedom that comes from being my own boss. I would miss the company of customers and visitors that frequent my home on a regular basis. And I would miss the satisfaction of a basket full of fresh harvest, so much honey and goat cheese that I don't mind being a little extravagant with them, and pantry shelves lined with produce that I canned myself.

I am blessed to live the life I do. Farming is worth it, both in the budget and the things that don't have a price tag.

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