Home Lifestyle The view from my side of the paddock

The view from my side of the paddock

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In our patch of the Northern Valleys, we have had lots more rain than the previous 3 years.

For those not close to the land, this is meaningless. For those of us on the land, or whose lives are directly affected by rainfall in the
country, rain is better than gold. ‘Seconds’ are Abandoned I am assured by many shoppers that they would buy ‘Seconds’ of fruit and veg. if they were offered them. However, that’s not my experience in my farmstall.

Even if the price is drastically reduced, anything with a small mark, bruise or bird peck or is misshapen is abandoned to its lonely fate in the basket and never taken to a good home.

This is so wasteful, when you think that stone fruit growers who offer tree-ripened (therefore, tasty) fruit in particular throw out up to a quarter of their crop sometimes. Buyers of organically grown produce don’t flinch at a few holes or “alive” crawlies in the produce.

Small is not beautiful, apparently, although for the first year I am heartened to see that apple producers are selling the mini apples normally thrown out. This has come about because of the insistence of schools in getting the kids to bring a piece of fruit to school daily. Kids can eat a whole mini apple.

The Price Range of Mainstream Fruit and Veg
This is a complex and mysterious question. Why can you buy strawberries, for instance, from a retail outlet at less than a third of the price I have to pay the same grower for the same product? Well, of course, the big bullies force growers to take rock bottom prices when supply is plentiful, or they go elsewhere.

So these growers are going to be a bit opportunistic with me and see what they can squeeze me for! Sometimes the bigger retailers strike good price deals
farm direct from the growers. Good on them. Sometimes the oversupply means that a grower will shift the product at almost any price, because of course it
is perishable. However, when there is an undersupply which should benefit the grower price wise, the Central Market and the big bullies just bring in supplies from the Eastern States and undercut the WA growers. So, the poor (literally) growers – they can’t win. They are always price takers, not price makers. No wonder so many growers are dispirited.

When I buy farm or orchard direct, I try to respect the grower and give him what he asks, even if he is being opportunistic – provided of course I can sell the product at that price. Sometimes I make little or no money, but that’s OK with me, because the farmer usually deserves the better price. Not that all retailers can be as considerate (or dumb, as many would say).

There are lots more reasons for wide variations in price, some of them just downright crooked. But let’s not spoil a beautiful Spring day thinking about those negatives. I just try to say thank you to all WA growers. If you weren’t producing for us, we would have to get food from the other parts of Australia or overseas and that is never as good for us, or as tasty. And we must keep our country communities prospering.