Letters to the Editor

Produce stand helps town celebrate small farms | Letter to the Editor

Thanks to Rachel Fesler-Schnitzer for “this opportunity to start a discussion” on community supported agriculture. Let’s also consider the ways family-owned farms and those who purvey their produce support our community; it works both ways. We love Bernie O’Malley. We love his friendly troupe of helpers, and we love the experience of visiting his stand and savoring the fruits of local soil, be it the summer tomato fields and orchards of Yakima or the hand-turned loam of Vashon. In harmony with Vashon Island Growers Association, they have made uptown a true destination for anyone who celebrates small farms and green earth — a Garden of Eden, were it not for petty jealousy lurking behind the gate.

That Bernie works hard, rises early and opens for business early is a tribute to the spirit of literally millions of global growers and marketers who have followed this successful, natural timetable for centuries before clocks or banks. Dawn comes early in summer; so does the work and so do the rewards. It’s hard to imagine a real farmers market opening at 10 a.m., a full hour after the bank opens its doors. The day is half over.

The board of VIGA should pay attention to Bernie’s example, not cast him out. The adage is old and simple: You snooze, you lose. Nothing prevents VIGA from opening its booths early and addressing the same market needs of eager, early-rising customers. Could they also be open on Friday? Sure they could. Heck, all you can buy at the park Sunday through Friday are illegal drugs.

As for Bernie’s pricing, I would caution Ms. Fesler-Schnitzer to review the legal definitions of price fixing, conspiracy and restraint of trade. Perhaps the food bank could help her understand charity, too.

— John and Clare van Amerongen

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