After being “pooh-poohed” by the feedlot and cage operators for years, calling us nothing but a fad, it had to happen - well-financed corporate interests have entered the Houston market offering home delivery of fruits, vegetables and meats, allegedly grown “locally and sustainably”. (I suppose we should be flattered since they copy our model, but we’re not). Remember what happened to “organic” when the monocultural farming conglomerates entered the field? Organic standards quickly dissipated. Most of the organic certified produce in your local grocery is grown in and shipped from California. In order to accommodate the big growers, the USDA has watered down the organic standards with more than 60 approved non-organic products. The conglomerates are now pushing for a chemical pesticide and in the meantime, the GMOs continue to proliferate in the so-called organic market. We are being plundered by our own government. Add that to your list of disappointments in our leadership. Shame, shame.
The goal of this new kid on the block is to convince you that the meats you get from them are of the same quality as you get from Jolie Vue or the produce is the same as you get from say Home Sweet Farm. Simultaneously they hope to put so much pressure on us and produce growers such as the Stufflebeams that we will have to join them at unsustainably low prices or perish. We declined both options, thank you anyway.
Our advantage in this new challenge is that they are significantly more expensive than us and will have a difficult if not impossible task of regulating their standards among the many producers they will need to maintain anything even remotely “local”.
I will let Brad Stufflebeam of HomeSweetFarm, our neighbor and one of the originals like us, tell you that segment of the story. In his own words:
“As Farmer Jenny and I sat eating a late lunch, at a chain restaurant overlooking Hwy 290 (unfortunately it happens sometimes), we viewed a delivery truck from a popular “local food home delivery” company out of Austin heading west at 70 mph after (one would suppose) having a successful day of doing business in Houston.
Now that got me! There it was, right in front of my face, bypassing my small town and other rural farmers throughout the Brazos Valley delivering “fresh local” produce from an Austin warehouse to Houston, conveniently dropped at your door. Isn’t that special?
For a while now, as small farmers, we have been growing more and more concerned about the integrity of Local Food. Just like “organic” and “sustainable”, what will it morph into? 100 miles, 250 miles, 500, statewide? Consolidated local food from farmers 250 miles from a warehouse and then delivered another 150+ miles to your door? As more corporations jump on the CSA bandwagon the entire integrity of our local food community is at risk.”
And remember this - you know where to find us if you have issues with your food. We’re not hiding behind the curtain of warehouse anonymity.