Taking a (“Buy Local”) Hike
By Jeff Alan
While passing by a small produce store recently, a random selection of “Ontario” fruits and vegetables caught my eye. Being a person who loves their blueberries, I was pleased to see that there were some (more expensive) of the berry under a sign proclaiming their nearby upbringing. Sitting there in their polite, plain green pints, calling me...
Now, being generally full of distrust I had that nagging feeling that perhaps these were not Ontario berries. “Isn't it a touch early?” Wanting to believe, I fought the doubt, money left the wallet and the berries came home.
A couple days later, an acquaintance of mine watched them pouring freshly-delivered U.S.A. blueberries from their clearly-labeled plastic clamshell containers into those plain-green baskets and putting them in the “Ontario” box. Seems I won't be shopping there anymore; this Little Guy™ is as much (or more) a liar as that Big Guy™.
Ah yes, grown close to home1, my arse.
On the other side of the coin, yesterday I made my way to the weekly farmer's market on Ryerson's downtown Toronto campus to see what may or may not have been available from who may or may not be honest, hard-working Ontario farmers. What I found for sale included honey, bread, cow, goat and sheep cheeses, vegetables, fruit, soaps, oils, meat, sweet potato baked goods, vegan offerings and some other things I don't recall. There was even a busker with a cello.
Is it proof of source? Not necessarily, but it's a little harder to live the lie when your addresses and contact info are all clearly listed on the market's site2. Want to know if they're growing what they claim to be? Easy...
Take a hike.