Saturday, August 23, 2008
$.39 Garlic and other musings
Friends and acquaintances alike will chastise me for this purchase for a variety of reasons. Why should I buy my garlic from the People's Republic of China when there is perfectly good garlic grown a lot closer to home? How does that make any sense environmentally speaking? Just so we are on the same page, I bought not one but five heads of garlic for 39 cents.
I spend a lot of time in San Francisco's Chinatown, as I walk through on my way home from work. I enjoy the hustle and bustle on the streets. I like the bakeries. I enjoy seeing featherless hanging birds, and still flopping fish. And on this day, I needed garlic, so in one of the many grocers I went. Nobody spoke English but that's not a problem. I handed a woman my purchase, she rang me up, I gave her my pocket change. A bit cheaper than I'd expected.
This is the part of the post where I don't know what to tell you or how to succinctly address the issues of 39 cent garlic. Time and again I see how prices in Chinatown (San Francisco and Oakland) are always cheaper than other stores and much more so that the farmers markets. Some readers will simply dismiss this purchase as un-earth friendly that doesn't see the long term issues involved with industrial agriculture, and products being shipped half way across the world, underselling local products. They have a point and I do agree. Lucky for them that they have the luxury of having the choice to pay more for their products. I try to do my part by supporting local farmers when I can. I am very lucky that at times I can and do pay more to encourage new agricultural trends. But what about everyone else?