Consumer Watch: Making sure produce marked local truly is
Farmers markets continue to surge in popularity. For some people these markets are the go-to place for summertime groceries, but an Oklahoma farmer says it's important to ask questions before paying for what you might expect to be local produce.
The idea of fresh produce sold directly from farmer to consumer is one of the reasons Providence Farms was a staple at area farmer's markets. That changed after they say they witnessed people selling food they didn't grow.
"There’s dishonest people out there, so not everybody honest (about) where the product is coming from, and there is not that many local growers either,” says Chris Webster, farmer and owner of Providence Farms.
Now, Providence Farms sells directly out of their farm, and during the busy months, from June to October, families will visit to pick heirloom vegetables and pay for their haul.
"Oh, they love it. They love bringing their kids out. Kids love pulling colorful carrots out of the ground. They come in all colors when you grow heirloom, purples and yellows and whites," says Webster.
For Jennifer Webster, the other half of Providence Farms, farming is about nourishing the body and soul of her family and her customers, even though it's hard work and she is always on the job.
"But it is also very rewarding. It is very therapeutic. As you can see my hands are dirty. I was out here weeding. It is one of my favorite things to do, believe it or not," says Jennifer Webster.
There are a few farms in the Oklahoma City metro that sell directly to consumers, but if you are planning on visiting farmers markets this season, Webster recommends asking questions before you buy.
1. Where did this food come from?
2. What pesticides were used?
3. What is your Facebook page or website?
If you feel like going the extra mile, you can ask about visiting the farm. For the Webster’s, it makes sense to make sure you are getting what you are paying for if a consumer is choosing to paying extra money for locally grown food.