Farm-to-fork Threatening National Grocery Chains

May 6, 2009 at 9:21 pm

It appears that sustainable foods do not equal sustainable profits, at least not for big time grocery chains like Walmart and Safeway.  As more and more people learn of the dangers of the pseudo-foods peddled at America’s mega marts the more they are shopping at farmer’s markets.  There they find produce that is farmed not manufactured.

Surely the farm-to-fork movement is not so large that it could actually be putting a bite in the bottom line of industrial grocers?  Only hippies shop at farmer’s markets, right?  It would seem not.  Recently Kelly Barron penned a humorous piece of fiction for SmartMoney.com (part of the Wall Street Journal Digital Network) suggesting hidden dangers from local produce.

In 10 Things Your Farmer’s Market Won’t Tell You, Barron spins a yarn of nefarious conduct by America’s organic farmers that results in produce riddled with hazards.  To prove her point she cites an E-coli outbreak in August of 2002 where 82 people got sick from contamination.  It remains the largest E-coli outbreak in California history.  It also did not happen at a farmer’s market or organic grocery.  It happened at a sheep and goat exhibit.  No food borne illness was part of this outbreak but Barron chose to represent the incident as if it were commonplace with local produce.

This is not totally Barron’s fault.  She is not an expert on horticulture, nutrition nor is she a chef.  She is a journalist who was likely given the assignment.  She might even think that a goat exhibit and a fruit stand are the same thing.  Who knows?

Propaganda like this can only mean one thing, more people are shunning the Frankenfood for the real thing.  That is a good sign.  There is hope for the future, after all ADD, Celiac Disease and dozens of other conditions are the result of genetically engineered food like that sold at large grocers.

So why would someone write an article blatantly fabricating facts such as this?  To serve an agenda.  There was a time when we would have thought the media beyond such conduct but as Dan Rather and CBS News showed us they are not above inventing news if it furthers their agenda.  WSJ is a fine publication but they do run with the big dogs of industry and Walmart is about as big as they get.  Sometimes you have to scratch a back now and then.  Oh yeah, and money talks, too.

So go ahead and read every word of Barron’s tall tale.  When you are finished read the rebuttal from an actual expert, Rob Smart.  Then judge for yourself.

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Stuart Reb Donald

Stuart is a celebrity chef and award winning food writer. Donald performs live cooking demonstrations and penned the cookbook Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor."

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