Many people like farmer’s markets. You can get organic produce, fresh meat, honey, and other delectable items. However, there’s a way to shop and a way not to. For a lesson in how NOT to shop at farmer’s markets, please consider Hi-Ho, the Derry-O.
Let’s say you’re preparing dinner and you realize with dismay that you don’t have any certified organic Tuscan kale. What to do?
Here’s how Michelle Obama handled this very predicament Thursday afternoon:
The Secret Service and the D.C. police brought in three dozen vehicles and shut down H Street, Vermont Avenue, two lanes of I Street and an entrance to the McPherson Square Metro station. They swept the area, in front of the Department of Veterans Affairs, with bomb-sniffing dogs and installed magnetometers in the middle of the street, put up barricades to keep pedestrians out, and took positions with binoculars atop trucks. Though the produce stand was only a block or so from the White House, the first lady hopped into her armored limousine and pulled into the market amid the wail of sirens.
Then, and only then, could Obama purchase her leafy greens. “Now it’s time to buy some food,” she told several hundred people who came to watch. “Let’s shop!”
The promotion of organic and locally grown food, though an admirable cause, is a risky one for the Obamas, because there’s a fine line between promoting healthful eating and sounding like a snob. The president, when he was a candidate in 2007, got in trouble in Iowa when he asked a crowd, “Anybody gone into Whole Foods lately and see what they charge for arugula?” Iowans didn’t have a Whole Foods.
For that reason, it’s probably just as well that the first lady didn’t stop by the Endless Summer Harvest tent yesterday. The Virginia farm had a sign offering “tender baby arugula” — hydroponically grown, pesticide free — and $5 for four ounces, which is $20 a pound.
Obama, in her brief speech to the vendors and patrons, handled the affordability issue by pointing out that people who pay with food stamps would get double the coupon value at the market. Even then, though, it’s hard to imagine somebody using food stamps to buy what the market offered: $19 bison steak from Gunpowder Bison, organic dandelion greens for $12 per pound from Blueberry Hill Vegetables, the Piedmont Reserve cheese from Everson Dairy at $29 a pound. Rounding out the potential shopping cart: $4 for a piece of “walnut dacquoise” from the Praline Bakery, $9 for a jumbo crab cake at Chris’s Marketplace, $8 for a loaf of cranberry-walnut bread and $32 for a bolt of yarn.
[Michelle] spoke of her own culinary efforts: “There are times when putting together a healthy meal is harder than you might imagine.”
Particularly when it involves a soundstage, an interpreter for the deaf, three TV satellite trucks and the closing of part of downtown Washington.
How Quickly We Forget
These kinds of silly, easy to avoid mistakes cause huge resentment. And why shouldn’t they? This is exactly the kind of economic unawareness Obama campaigned against.
Nonetheless, this is hardly economic news except for one thing: Such arrogant silliness is going to make it much harder for Obama to maintain ratings and get anything done.
Then again, one look at the health care package he wants, his continuation of the Bush bailouts, and his ridiculous cap and trade energy plan, combined with Misguided Tariffs that risk a global trade war, should be enough for everyone to hope that nothing does get done.
Sadly, “nothing” is the best we can possibly hope for. So let the shopping continue and the resentment build. After all “putting together a healthy meal is harder than you might imagine” especially when you are flat broke with no job and have to live with economic policies that are going to cost jobs.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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