General Question

skfinkel's avatar

When they say the strawberries aren't sprayed, do you believe them?

Asked by skfinkel (13511points) May 28th, 2011

I just returned from a farmer’s market in NYC (Saturday’s on 67th between 1st and York). One man selling strawberries said they were from his farm and he didn’t spray, so I bought them, believing him. Would you want to see at least a sign indicated they weren’t sprayed? Or, will he just say what he wants to sell strawberries? They were delicious, by the way.

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6 Answers

john65pennington's avatar

Words are cheap. You are correct. If you’re asking this question, I assume you have suffered no ill effects of the strawberries. That’s good.

I guess the bottomline is that we have to trust some people, especially with the food we eat.

laureth's avatar

If you find that they are sprayed, you could create a legal hassle for him. If he were selling sprayed berries as “unsprayed” at my local farmer’s market, he would (at the very least) be expelled from the market, and possibly be liable for some crime (fraud, maybe). As such, if a farmer has been selling produce at my market for a reasonable length of time and has gotten a good reputation, I will believe the claims.

He could say “whatever” in order to sell strawberries – today. But your farmer is very likely interested in building a loyal clientele that will return again and again, so it behooves him to speak the truth. If you go to the market often, you will see which farmers are there all the time, and which are fly-by-night. Of course, if you only go once, it’s easy to believe that a farmer would only want to sell strawberries there once, too.

zenvelo's avatar

That’s why you should only buy from certified organic farms, especially with strawberries. Strawberries are one of the most pesticide absorbing fruits and vegetables.

There is a list here of the 12 things to always buy organic, and the 15 where it doesn’t make a difference.

jca's avatar

We also all need to keep in mind that when foods are labelled “organic,” it does not mean there were no pesticides used. It means only organic pesticides were used. Organic pesticides are still pesticides.

laureth's avatar

@zenvelo – However, organic certification is expensive, and sometimes beyond the means of smaller farmers. There are small-time farmers around here who follow all the practices, but aren’t large-enough scale to warrant the expense of certification. I’ll gladly buy from them before I’ll buy from a mega-conglomerate with the “approved” Organic certification.

Buttonstc's avatar

I would be more inclined to believe a farmer who would be ok with customers visiting the farm at any time as many farmers who sell at once a week markets often do.

I’d also be more inclined to take the word of am Amish farmer since they eschew technology, automation and live close to the land.

That’s one of the things I appreciated about Reading Terminal Market in Philly. Many of the produce stands were Amish and they also welcomed visitors during the week when they weren’t at the market.

They’re not Amish but this is also the regular policy of Polyface Farm and many of their previous interns who now have farms of their own.

And if you’re doubting the veracity of the info they’re giving you, that might also be a good litmus test question to ask. Most farmers who do practice organically (whether officially certified or not) are usually quite proud of their practices and being a cut above the rest and not mind showing off their operations.

When I looked on the local harvest website shortly after moving here, there were many smaller farms who mentioned in their blurbs that they utilized organic practices even tho they couldn’t afford the certification.

And there were also others who were in the process of switching to organic and listed an estimate of what percentage was organic vs. what was in the process. (evidently the land has to be a certain way for a specified number of years to be considered free of pesticide residue.)

Also as previously mentioned, lying about if for the sake of a short term sale could come back to bite them in the butt in a major way later especially in an ongoing organized market as opposed to selling out of the back of a truck somewhere.

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