Those of us living in the beautiful Green Mountains of Vermont often entertain family and friends in our home, in part because eating out is often a challenge. Restaurants are few and the good ones are typically expensive and crowded with tourists. When having someone over for supper one of the most likely choices to purchase the fixings is at a local farmers market. The closest one to my town is about 10 miles from me. Open six days a week and as would be expected, it’s known for the abundance of fresh produce, meats and seafood. It’s one of those places where you wander the aisles, picking up sauces, salsas, cheeses and the like you can never get anywhere else which is why it is hard to walk out the door without spending at least $50, if not more.
A friend of mine who owns a vacation home here recently invited me over for supper. She went out of her way to mention she made a special trip to the farmer’s market for our meal. She knows, as do I, that when you want something special or are having someone special to supper- locally grown produce, grass fed organic beef from a neighboring farm and cheese produced right in your home town you go here. Yes, you pay more, but cost is often overlooked as giving your company the freshest, local food is the true focus.
As she was preparing the dinner, my friend was very proud to tell me the details of where the food for our meal originated. The fish we would be eating was farm raised organic salmon flown in fresh today, the lettuce was from a farm one town over and the bread was from a small upstart bakery still operating from their home. However, the good mood and dinner preparation soon came to a halt, when in the process of separating the garlic bulb into cloves, she discovered the whole garlic bulb was rotten.
From that point on a shadow was cast over the entire evening and expectedly the discussion turned from the terrific salmon to how a place like our farmer’s market, one known for freshness, could sell people bad garlic. My friend went on about how expensive the market’s prices are and why didn’t someone working there pay more attention to the condition of the garlic. To her it was an unfathomable mistake. Thanks to this oversight a 75-cent item was now the focus of conversation.
So for all the effort to stock quality local produce, unusual and hard to find fruits, locally baked bread and healthier-for-you meats and seafood, in this customer’s mind she may never shop at the store again because none of their employees thought to cull through the garlic bulbs, and perhaps worse, they violated her trust.
Lesson being – sweat the small things, they count.