Fuel prices are hitting small farmers hard: Many are now doing the math on whether going to the farmers’ market is worth it.
The Associated Press talks to Franca Tantillo, a New York strawberry farmer who drives 135 miles to the NYC greenmarkets and who says that “half the money she takes in on a given day at the market now goes to cover costs related to transportation.” She even stayed home for a month because of higher fuel costs.
It’s not just transport costs that are stressing small farmers. Animal feed has soared along with commodity prices, and, well, farmers can list a lot more:
[H]igher charges for plastic supplies for greenhouses and irrigation systems for fields; larger energy bills for heating greenhouses and soaring prices for diesel used to fuel farm equipment and the trucks that carry their products to the markets. Even the plastic bags they put their products in are more expensive this year.
Happily, the AP provides some comic relief. Here’s the story’s explanatory paragraph on farmers’ markets for readers who’ve been lost in a Safeway for the last decade:
Sometimes housed in a historic downtown building, sometimes a collection of vendors gathered in a city park or parking lot, such markets typically feature seasonal produce, meats and handcrafted cheeses sold by small farmers directly to consumers. The markets often add baked goods and other prepared foods for sale.