First thing to note is the farmers are NOT the ones making all the money. The stores selling the produce are the ones actually reaping most of the profit. Why are the stores selling the produce making so much more? You the consumer have created this produce price monster! How, you ask? Let me explain the process of how the produce or any product gets to market then, it will be evident how you created this “produce price monster” as well as you have the ability to destroy the “produce price monster” as well.
Step one: the farmer prepares the soil, plants the seeds, tends the crop, protects it from the havoc of Mother Nature and finally takes it to a distributor. Now, the farmer knows he must put it at a price the distributor will buy it from him/her. Depending on the weather’s effect on the crop that year, the farmer may only break even. He has to get something for all his work so often he/she has to settle for less than what he/she would like.
Step two: the distributor marks the product up to sell it to the stores. The distributors usually have multiple relationships to move the produce quicker than the farmer could so alone. This is why the farmer went to the distributor in the first place.
Step three: the store buys the produce and marks it up before you purchase it from them. The store’s markup on produce is generally the highest in the store. In many instances this could be 60% above the already marked up distributor price. Why is the markup so high? Spoilage! When YOU, the consumer, do not buy the produce and it spoils, it is thrown away or given to shelters and food banks just before it goes bad.
How can you the consumer have an impact on reducing the price of produce?
- buy seasonal (highest nutritional value and boosts immune system),
- buy more fresh seasonal produce so the stores have less waste,
- shop the reduced for quick sale produce section,
- freeze seasonal produce (retains nutrients for later consumption),
- can seasonal produce,
- eat more seasonal produce (helps immune system and weight maintenance or loss),
- buy in a group with others and share for variety
- keep pre-cut fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator available for kids to snack on as they want
- know what is in season, Peak-Season Interactive Map by State at Epicurious
- Agritourism, California Wine Coast Farm and Wine Tours
- Farmers’ Market Listing Across the United States, Interactive Map
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All information in this article is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals and conduct their own independent research on any matter relating to their health and well-being.
The information and opinions expressed here are believed to be accurate, based on the best judgment and research available to the authors at this time, and readers who fail to consult with appropriate health authorities assume the risk of any injuries.
- Everett Farmer’s Market Opens 2012 Season Next Sunday, June 3rd, Rain or Shine (myeverettnews.com)
- What to Buy at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market Tomorrow (lauriegauguin.typepad.com)
- Growing a new crop of farmers (mybigearth.com)
- Senate farm bill a small step forward for Calif. (sfgate.com)
- Strategies: Eat local; help a small farmer (usatoday.com)
- Join the Food Revolution, Eat Local (realfarmacy.com)
- 10 Ways to Starve a Multi-National GMO Conglomerate (thedailysheeple.com)