I hold a special place in my heart for the Amish. It's mainly based on fascination. The no electricity thing, horse and buggy and those clothes all made by hand. Part of me would love to live that type of simple (ha!) life but the other half would miss my email inbox and my Honda Element. And I don't really enjoy picking up Dharma's dog poop so I can't even imagine dealing with horse shit on a daily basis.
When I heard about the Amish Farmer's Market coming this summer near our house I was ecstatic!
So I made plans today to enjoy the market with my dad and the boys. My dad shares the same love/fascination as I do. And since these Amish were from PA it was even better in my dad's eyes since he is from Altoona, PA.
As I drive to the market I'm envisioning rows of outside booths some with tents, some without. Farmer's with callused hands and sun red necks and chatting with the women about their beautiful quilts, asking the farmers how their crop has been with all the rain. I pull up and already I get uneasy when I see that it is inside a large building that looks like it was a grocery store in it's past life. As my father and I walk around I realize it's not at all what I expected. Sure there are a few Amish but mostly Mennonite selling at each of their booths. But these are not farmers market type booths, these booths come equipped with air conditioned glass cases. Everything looked pretty and clean. A little too clean, I was suspicious.
We reached the back of the market and there they were...the veggies! OK! I am ready to shop...but then as I survey the items I think to myself WTF!!! Oranges in PA!?!? Come on! Peppers aren't even in season! Lemons! What the hell is going on here!?!?!?!
I immediately felt like I was being had. I watch a man pull out potatoes from a box marked that they are from Idaho and placing them in little wooden baskets.
They are selling us the illusion of buying from farmers from PA, equipped with costumes!!!
I pointed out the boxes labeled California oranges and tomatoes to my dad, I think I burst his bubble a bit, he was as equally excited as I was about this market.
So we skipped the veggies, bought some homemade bread that you could see the woman actually making behind the booth. We headed for the lunch meat booth, I asked the gorgeous blonde haired beauty if the chicken was grass fed, organic or just no antibiotics. She smiled revealing beautiful straight teeth and said she'd have to ask her dad. I watched as she went over to the older man wearing the Amish clothes equipped with a straw hat talking on a cellphone. A cellphone! I know I'm one of the last people on earth not using a cellphone but even the Mennonite are "in the network"! He shrugged his shoulders. The blonde beauty comes back and sweetly says they don't know. A little confused I asked, "what do you mean you don't know, weren't these once your chickens?" "oh no", she smiles with a slight laugh behind it.
Yup that's right folks these "farmers" are buying all of their products from factories just like Safeway, Giant, Whole Foods and any other big grocery store chain.
It's a total scam!!!
I tell my dad that I HAVE to see the crafts, hoping deep in my heart that at least those items would be made in PA. I turn over a picture frame with a cute little embroidered quote on fabric and there is was...the sticker...MADE IN CHINA!!!! Everything I pick up has the same sticker.
Clearly the folks from PA got a little too big for their britches, as my mother would say, and after success of selling handmade items the money sign$ showed in their eyes and off to china to mass produce what was was once so cherished...so pure...so handmade.
Even the Amish are made in china!