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Milk For $2.79 A Half Gallon: Am I Nuts?
At the Farmers’ Market
So there we were a couple Saturdays ago, my wife and I, manning our booth at the Puyallup Farmers Market, selling goat cheese and quail eggs, trying desperately to stay cool in the ninety-five degree heat.
Puyallup, by the way, is a city in Washington State, for those of you unfamiliar with the left coast, and it is about twenty miles from our hometown of Olympia, the state capital, for those of you unfamiliar with state capitols.
But I digress!
I was talking to a customer about an hour into the market when I spied, from the corner of my eye, my wife walking across the aisle to another booth. I finished up my discussion and looked across the way to see Bev chatting with a gentleman in the Smith Dairy booth.
I thought nothing of it. Part of the charm of farmers markets is meeting other vendors and chatting with them about their products.
A half hour passed and finally Bev returned to our booth holding an order form, and that form had writing on it, and that writing was, in fact, our order for dairy delivery starting next week.
Dairy delivery in the land of Safeway? Do they still do that?
The older I get the more time I spend thinking back to my childhood. Is this the beginning of senility, I ask?
Tuesday mornings! I’m not sure why I remember the specific day, but I’m sure it was Tuesday. Early….like an ungodly hour, in the five a.m. range….a time when anyone with an ounce of common sense would be sleeping. From a deep sleep comes the sounds of glass clinking on glass, feint at first, then increasing in volume, and finally a chorus of clinking followed by silence.
Mister Thompson delivered the milk!
And back to sleep I immediately went.
Ten years later Piggly Wiggly opened up a mile from our home. Fifteen years later Safeway invaded our little corner of heaven.
And the Tuesday morning chorus of clinking ended.
Next Wednesday, at 1828 Fir Street in Olympia, Washington, the clinking will resume.
I am unnaturally excited!
Scanning the Receipt
So Bev returned to our booth and handed me the order form/receipt, a big old smile on her face, and she told me she had ordered home delivery, and I smiled, a veritable booth of smiles, until I read that milk cost $2.79 for a half gallon.
At our closest Safeway, a mile from our home, we can get a gallon of Lucerne milk for $2.99.
$2.79 for a half gallon??????
That’s right, I said very cool, and would you like to know why?
Because I believe in that clinking of glass from years gone by!
Here’s the Thing
Does anyone know where Lucerne Dairy Farm is actually located?
I had to do some research. It turns out Lucerne Foods has its headquarters in Boise, Idaho, but I guarantee you will not find an actual farm just outside the headquarters window, so where are all those cows that produce all that milk?
Here, there, and everywhere is the answer to that inquiry. Lucerne contracts out with various farms across the country to produce milk under the Lucerne label, and they are quite proud of the fact that those milk-producing cows are hormone-free.
So I did some more research and lo and behold, not one cow under the Lucerne banner is raised in Olympia, Washington.
But every single one of the cows under the Smith Dairy banner is chewing its cud in our area, and that makes all the difference in the world to Bev and I.
I’m about fed up with the Presidential elections of 2016. How about you?
And one of the reasons why I’m so fed up, aside from the pure nastiness of the whole shebang, is because I know in my heart of hearts that neither Clinton nor Trump give a rat’s patootie about the health of the economy in Olympia, Washington, and I’m willing to bet they aren’t too concerned with the quality of food served here as well.
So if the Presidential candidates don’t care about the general health and welfare of my neighborhood, and by extension if the Federal Government doesn’t care, then I guess it falls in my lap to see to it that I do my part to support localism.
Can you hear the glass tinkling?
It’s a Choice I Am Making
I’m not selling so I don’t much care if you’re buying what I’m talking about here. I’ve heard all the excuses why people succumb to the lure of the cheap price. I get it….really….why pay an extra two bucks for a gallon of milk when that two bucks can be spent on cigarettes or booze? I understand completely.
I’m being facetious so don’t get your knickers in a knot.
But the point is this: it’s all about choices! To my wife and I, supporting the local economy is important. We believe an economy is only as healthy as the willingness of its citizens to support it, so we buy local far more often than not. We pay a little extra at farmers markets for local produce. We try to buy other items from independent stores that only carry products made locally.
Yes it is difficult. Believe me when I tell you we are, at best, lower middle-class on the economic ladder. We are not floating in excess disposable income. We wouldn’t know a 401K if it bit us in the ass. The trickle-down economic system is a tinkle down instead, as in getting peed on, so this decision of ours is a tough one and requires some sacrifices…..
But we believe it is worth those sacrifices!
It’s Interesting to Think Back
So, while I was thinking about those milk deliveries of long ago, I was thinking about other changes that happened just about the same time. Just about the time Safeway invaded our neighborhood, the first shopping Mall was built in our city, and it wasn’t long after that, downtown Tacoma dried up and almost blew away. Just about the time Safeway advertised low, low prices, McDonalds opened up in Tacoma, and the 25 cent burger was introduced, and fast foods replaced long hours of cooking, and the pace of living seemed to noticeably increase, and family meals diminished in number, and the new catch word, spoken first in whispers but then shouted from the rooftops, was CONVENIENCE, and Lordy my Lordy, here we are in 2016 pissing and moaning about the sorry state of this world.
I don’t know what to make of all those weighty issues. There’s some right smart people paid big bucks who have my best interests at heart. I just know they do, because they’re our representatives, right, so I don’t worry too much about politics and the such. Big government will take care of me, right? And big corporations care about my welfare, right?
And the tooth fairy is real!
Me, I’m just waiting for Wednesday, and the beautiful sounds of glass tinkling against glass.
2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc) #greatestunknownauthor