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Questions to ask your farmer about your food (Missie April)

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During our show with Missie April  we talked about asking your farmer questions about the produce you are buying.  I thought it may be helpful to get some specific questions to ask your farmer at a market.

1. Do you grow everything you sell? Ideally, the answer will be yes.  However, many farm markets purchase and resell some items, if your farmer can’t or won’t tell you what he or she grows, that’s a bad sign!  If your farmer is willing to tell you which products are grown there at the farm, you can at least make an informed choice to purchase local food and avoid the items that are being resold.  Those items will likely not be as fresh and flavorful anyway.

2. Do you use chemical pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers? The answer should be no.  Ask what methods are used to manage pests, disease, and soil fertility.  A good organic farmer, if they have the time, will be happy to talk shop with you.  Enthusiasm for discussing these issues is a good sign, unless the farmer is very busy working.

3.  Do you grow heirloom varieties?  Do you grow non-GMO crops? The answer should be yes to heirlooms, no to GMO’s.  This shows that the farmer is working to preserve diversity and sustainability.  If your farmer seems evasive on this subject, ask him or her where they buy their seed.  You can follow up with research on the seed company to be sure they sell only non-GMO seed.  This is an extra step, but an important one.