Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Highway Robbery?

Would you like to see what "highway robbery" looks like in Loudoun County Virginia? Well, here it is. Doesn't it look so innocent? Well don't be fooled. Under the country exterior of this farmers market there is a crime being committed...

Let me tell you how I uncovered this little local scandal that is happening right under the nose of all of us who pass by this stand every day...It all started with my buying produce from a farmer down the road from us. His prices were very reasonable; under a dollar (.75 cents) a pound for vegetables. I've enjoyed stopping by there the last several weeks buying whatever they had, squash, green beans, cucumbers and tomatoes. It's all done on the honor system. You go inside this little shed (below) and pick out what you want. There was a scale, you weigh what you have, and put your money in an old cookie tin. A lot of times I left more money than I spent. One day I was so appreciative of the beautiful produce that I left a note thanking them...Corny I know, but I was just so grateful to find a good place to buy fresh veggies. I even bought free range eggs, that were really pretty--Most were brown, some were kind of green in color. But I could tell the garden was about "done" when the counters that were once full of fresh produce and eggs were looking a bit bare. I really wanted some fresh tomatoes so I decided to stop at the place whose picture is at the start of this post. I was stunned at the prices. The tomatoes were $3.50 a pound (£2.27) cucumbers were $2 each (£1.29) and a dozen of the free-range eggs were $5 a dozen (£3.24) and don't get me started about how much the apples and cantaloupes were!! Those prices are nearly doubled than the ones at "the fine grocery store (that I love) known as Wegmans" and I left the little roadside market with my bag clutched tight and a new commitment to have my own garden next year!

I really want to support the local growers and farmers, and I know I shouldn't complain. I know it's hard work to grow a garden--But am I the only one who thinks those prices may be a little steep??


  1. it must have been exciting being an "undercover" reporter!!!

    good blog......

    go to the papers

  2. Hi Kim, I enjoyed seeing the photos but I agree totally that the prices were high. Having said that I do know that here in Co. if we buy organic at the Farmers Market they are so pricey...I can't believe it and can't afford it either.
    My daughters have gardens but no chickens so I try to get some of there vege's.
    I have a question for you about your Wheaton...does he/she shed at all?
    Our next dog needs to be a poodle mix or one that doesn't shed. We had neighbors in Ca. that had a wheaton-a sweet sweet dog. Since we have 9 grandchildren we also need a dog who gets along with babies/toddlers/older kids. I would love a golden-poodle mix but think they still shed.
    Have a glorious day.

  3. OMG! Thats terrible...you should have left them a note....complaining. I grow my own tomatoes cucumbers courgettes & peppers plus blackberries & raspberries & it saves a lot. Oh & free eggs from my daughters hens! xxx

  4. I would have to agree with you, those prices are alittle on the upper high side. I had the same experience recently at my local farmers market, I couldn't believe how high the prices where, you think they would be alittle cheaper than the gourmet grocery store.

  5. I am always in shock when going to the grocery store.
    Sometimes we just have to wait to buy something until it is on sale.
    Sometimes it never goes on sale.
    Watermelons---- I cannot believe how the price has grown.
    What happened to the days when they were cheap? I just paid 6.00 for a seedless. Yes it was good, but wow!

  6. Sounds a bit high, and I'm sure with prices like that, they'll be fewer takers...
    I'll check our local farmers market tomorrow, and give you a comparison.

  7. Hey there Kim...
    I love the way you have written this post! (I know it sounds odd...but I have no point of proce comparison but I can feel your shock) Sorry I can't comment on your veggie prices...but everything is so expensive here too at the moment. Let's perhaps think also about the outrageous dog-food prices!
    Sending lotsaluv to you and your 'pile' of Goldens...yes, that is my new collective noun after experiencing all the puppies! :)
    Sending lotsaluv

  8. I sell half a doz eggs for £1 to neighbours freshly laid & cheaper than the farm shops but I only have four hens so only have a couple of boxes a week to sell !
    A nice way of looking at the money I get is that the hens are paying off their mortgage on their hen house !

  9. Good to meet you - and especially another animal lover! See you soon.

  10. My father-in-law passed away in 2006. For many years he had sold the excess produce from his 1 acre garden to anyone who wanted it for 50 cents a pound. My mother-in-law used to complain about his cheap prices, but the fact was, he loved the gardening and the company of those who appreciated his efforts. He had a LOT of produce! There were always cars in the driveway getting 'maters or okra, corn or melons, grapes or 'taters, and on and on. He made a LOT of money with his garden, but he made MORE friends and lived 40 years beyond the day when his doctors told him to sit in a chair and just relax because his heart disease was going to kill him if he didn't...Bud was NOT about sitting still and, I am convinced, would have still been going strong today if he had NOT heeded the advice of doctors and undergone heart surgery....he never awoke from the surgery, passing away three days later, at the age of 81. I am convinced those extra 40 years were his BECAUSE he lacked that singular disease called GREED.

    When I get my farm going, it is just such a roadside operation I intend on doing....so far, with the experimentals we did this year, the melons will be a great crop, though I think $2.50 for a melon will be more in order, since the BABY melon we ate on Monday weighed in at 11 lbs 9 oz!

    I get my free range eggs from a farmer a down the road for $2.00 a dozen... Yes, I agree with you, the other guy's stuff is too high. But I imagine each has a different reason for the price they ask... perhaps the roadside robber is a barterer and starts his prices high, expecting the give and take of bartering to bring it to a reasonable price for all. However, I am not a barterer, so I too would leave without spending a penny!

  11. These prices are totally too high!! And how do you know the produce is local. That's the problem with our Farmer's Market - who knows where the produce comes from!! If I go there, I always ask if it's local - sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't.

    I love those little stands that are on the honor system. When we lived in California, I used to buy oranges and avocados all the time from one - just a person who had a larger yard than normal and could have the trees.

    Have a great day - if you lived close to me, I'd share my "bounty" with you.

  12. For one thing I don't think its corny to leave a thank you note, I think its nice and will hopefully encourage that producer to charge reasonable prices. Unfortunately I think some of these producers play on the fashionable aspect of fresh and organic produce and so charge higher prices knowing some people are silly enough to get sucked in. Growing your own stuff can be hard work with set backs but in the end its very rewarding.

  13. Hmmmm, robbery indeed. What say we take those dogs for walkies and gather the fruits of their labors in a plastic bag and see what price it gets marked at on their table??

  14. Yikes! And here I thought that Weggie's prices were high.

  15. You are not wrong at all. And I really resent that sort of thing. I sometimes think the people believe you would be embarrassed to walk away. I always buy from our little roadside stand, but our grocery store sells locally grown veggies as well. If our stand had outrageous prices, I'd feel comfortable buying at the grocery store instead, since it still supports local farmers.

  16. Far too much! I agree that farmers work terribly hard at their work, but that is ridiculous! (And if you grow a garden next year, oh, be prepared - ouchie how hard it is!!!) And thanks to your hubby for our new follower - there's more to come hah!
    Hugs to all there xoxoxo
    Sammie, Mom and the crew

  17. Don't know how your post got lost on my list, guess I have to blame my eyes , well, and my brain, I just have so much going on right now. Those prices are nuts! Is he perhaps trying to make up for somebody that had their hand in the cookie jar? I know that an honor system would not make it in my neighborhood!

  18. We buy organic at the farmers market and the cost is high!!! But we don't have health insurance and it is important to stay as healthy as possible!! I use to go to the doctors 5 times a year, now only one time a year!!! We have been eating organic for 2 years and there is a difference in both of us!! A wonderful difference!!!
    XXOO, Bambi & Fern

  19. Those prices do sound steep, even for home-grown!!
    - Anne

  20. that is highway robbery, I wonder if they are catering to the "city folks" on the way to their cottages?

    Enjoy your weekend,


  21. Hello Kim!
    Holy Cow those prices are ridiculous! That's too bad that your favorite farm stand didn't have much produce left but at least you were happy with his prices. We sell our eggs for $2.00 a dozen and I know I should raise the price because of the cost of feed but for now I just don't have the heart to do it. Maybe at the beginning of the new year I will. We also have a garden that we started this year and it was wonderful but next year I plan on doing even better. If I have enough to freeze and can I'll be happy. I hope you have a wonderful weekend...Maura :)

  22. Wow why the jump in pricing? If no one buys it, it will just rot.
    Hubby takes all the extra veggies to work and spreads the love. No charge. We can only freeze and make so many pickles.
    We have lots of those veggie stands set up around and they all do quite well on the honor system.
    I'm actually thinking of doing this from our garden shed when we retire. It will help pay for the seeds, plus I can sell my pickles also. At a reasonable price of course!

  23. we are lucky to grow most of what we eat, but I often stop by farmstands in our area nd supplement. There is one nearby that has fantastic prices, but all the others are unreal. Like, a dollar per smallish tomato. Really?