A Rotten Problem
I didn’t know what a Food Desert was until I moved to Ohio. Growing up on the west coast means an ample supply of sunshine, lemons, and fresh produce. Moving to Colorado didn’t change that much, my sunshine allowance increased, I was introduced to even more produce, and yet still had access to California’s fruits and vegetables. I didn’t realize how much I took it for granted until I stepped into a grocery store in Northeast Ohio.
When 2-liter soda is cheaper than water, ladies and gentlemen, we have a problem.
When lemons are $1 and garlic is $7.99/lb, we have a problem.
When parsley is $1.99 for a wilted little handful, we have a problem.
We went to 2 different grocery stores with similar results before I started thinking that perhaps we lived in a food desert. According to the USDA, a food desert is a place that lacks fresh produce and other healthy foods, usually due to a lack of grocery stores. Typically the area is rural or impoverished. In a food desert, at least 500 people live 1 mile or more away from a grocery store (you can check your community here).
With Kent being pretty close to Akron, and Ohio itself a major distribution gateway for truckers, there really is no excuse for the lack of access to affordable fresh and healthy food.
A Fresh Fix
The city of Kent is doing something to fix that, and they’ve been doing it for 25 years. The Haymaker Market.
The Haymaker farmers market is every Saturday, and is right down the road from us. We bring our own bags and join our fellow Crunchies (and sometimes, the Amish) for some farm-fresh larger-than-life produce picked that morning and ready to wash (and you better wash it, because there are beetles chilling in those rainbow chard leaves).
And then you can compare the store bought parsley to the Haymaker parsley. Which would you prefer?
So yes, I will buy the parsley on the right, support my community, promote small farms, and eat organic. But if anyone wants to send us some citrus we are totally OK with that.