Steigerwalt brought his eggs. The Lehigh Valley Dairy* and Zimmerman’s gave us milk and orangeade and iced tea. They were local. The meat came from the various meat-packing houses like A&B and Swift’s, while being national and regional companies, used locally bought livestock. Whitaker supplied the fresh corn. I used to go with my dad to get it.
(As an aside, when I went to visit my mom in the hospital before she died, there was this old couple there. My mom said, “Do you know this guy?” Nope. He said that he remembered me. I was the kid who unloaded the crates of eggs that he delivered.)
And, as another aside I baled hay, had my arms up to my elbows inside a cow turning a calf around, shoveled shit out horse stalls, had to hold onto a horse condom when the stud pulled out, and all kinds of other stuff that made me realize I should pursue other avenues.
Oh man, I’ll never forget that cow moment. My cousin called over the old farmer across the way to help with the breached birth. I remember it like it was yesterday, and this was like 1969. The old man said, “The kid has to put his hands up there to turn the calf around.” I looked at him and said, “I don’t think so.” He looked at me, dead serious, and said, “If you don’t, it dies and that’s money.” (It was because I had thin arms. It was easier than them doing it.)
So much for the romantic old days.
Back when most everything was local, at least in the summer, it was affordable to the average person. It was common, not “artisanal.” The people where I grew up were mostly working class, factory people.
Sure, people had gardens, but those were mostly tended to by the wives of the men who were off at work in the factories. That stuff was used mostly for canning for the winter. It was utilitarian and not some weird fetish.
So, the question I have is, why should locally sourced food now come at such premium prices?
Maybe, because I’m the Hey you kids get out of my yard! guy gives me a skewed perspective. I remember when the food these nitwits want never existed, at least in my lifetime. The local farmers used pesticides, much worse than today, and they used whatever new stuff came along to make their lives easier, and they still couldn’t feed the whole area. Food had to brought in from out of the area to make up the difference.
Those fuckers worked hard and they had no notions of organic or harmony with nature. They busted their asses to fight nature so they could make a living.
And no one would ever think of telling farmers how to grow their food.
* The Lehigh Valley Dairy was the so-called “milk money” that was involved in the Nixon scandal