After my whole diatribe of "Fair Trade Knitting" last week, I had to eat my words (literally) :-) !
I have been enjoying going to the farmers market on Union Square on Wednesdays, and generally I pay less there for food than I pay at our neighborhood grocery store. So last week I went to my favorite salad stand (we've really been enjoying salads at home recently). I picked up two bags. When I went to pay, the man at the stand said, "That will be 31 dollars." My jaw dropped to the floor. $31 for two bags of salad and one box of edible flowers? I glanced back at the sign and it said $6 per quarter pound". He was right. I was too embarrassed to make a big scene, but in the afternoon I checked Whole Foods and found that their prices for salads are nearly four times less. So I went back to the stand today and asked them. "Can you please explain to me why your salads are sooo much more expensive than at other stores?" And here it goes: the guy said, "When you buy an organic salad form Whole Foods or Fairway, it's mostly been harvested by machines. The lettuce gets taken care of by machines, it is ripped out of the ground by machines, and it is washed by machines. On our farm we do everything by hand. Every leaf has been handled with care and everyone on our farm earns a living wage." So I said, "Oh, so it's kind of like Fair Trade Salad then." And he said, "Exactly!" So I went back to Whole Foods and looked at their salads, but after having eaten this amazing concoction of green, red, and purple leaves, I just could not go back to the packaged, slightly limp version. I asked my husband what he thought. Could we really justify spending so much on SALAD? And he said, "Honey, the salads from the market are amazing! They actually have flavor--you feel like you're eating a nourishing meal. The stuff from Whole Foods doesn't really taste like anything." He was right. The salads from the market are amazing. The ones from the store keep sitting in our fridge until they wilt. So today I grabbed a little less salad from the market. I figure, we will pay Fair Trade. We'll just have eat a little less... And I learned (again):
You really DO get what you pay for!