Monday, April 24, 2006

A Niche Market

I am passionate about organic food because I believe in health and I want to save the environment (baby steps). I'm hoping more people become aware of the dangers of conventional agriculture to their personal health, to the environment and to society as a whole. Failing to reach others intellectually or emotionally, there's always the flavor of conventionally grown produce compared to ones organically-grown. Organic food taste a LOT better. It's a world of difference. I was first and foremost a lover of good food and eventually I became concerned about the state of the environment. In my studies I learned of the connection between the environment and the food we eat which led me to start an organic garden last year. So far there have been few ups and many downs.

Yesterday I joined the Organic Market for the 3rd time. I had vine-ripened red cherry tomatoes, Italian arugula, chrysanthemum leaves, mustard greens, flat-leaf parsley, lemongrass and scallions. Well, I made enough to pay for the stall I rented and buy some groceries for myself but I'm beginning to have doubts about this venture. It doesn't seem to me like there are enough people out there who want to eat organic food. Also, the market is only open on Sundays which is a rest day in this country. I asked Mara, our organizer, and she said the "powers that be" won't allow the market to open on Saturdays because there is already a Saturday market going on. Completely ridiculous and a decision based on that premise should be illegal! But frankly I don't know what to do about it. So I told myself that we just have to make do with what we've got. Which is Sunday 7am to 2pm. Luckily, I don't give up easily and I've come up with some ideas to attract people over on Sundays. I will write about it if all goes well, or doesn't, but right now it's still forming in my head.

The other problem I'm having at the moment is that I am not producing enough to tap a wider market. The problem isn't a lack of land area but the people I'm dealing with. Mistakes made in agriculture has big and time consuming repercussions. So its a slow process when things don't go right. One of my farmers misunderstood me and cut off all the branches and most of the leaves off my fruiting cherry tomato plants. Needless to say, the plants are now dying. Bloody idiot. After having to calm down for a couple of days, I thought of a way for this to never happen again. All instructions I give will be written down on the whiteboard before I leave the farm. I also gave each farmer something that he alone is responsible for. Hopefully I've organized things so the farm will run more smoothly.

On the up side, I've been cooking more than usual with all the vegetables I have on hand. Eating something I've grown and knowing how fresh and toxin-free my fruits and vegetables are gives me a sense of well-being. And the flavors are truly astonishing after eating bland tomatoes and not-so-fresh produce for a year. This morning I made some lemongrass iced tea using fresh lemongrass from my farm and organic muscovado sugar instead of regular granulated sugar. Yum!

1 comment:

Riquito said...

Where is your market?