Just Because Farmers Grow Fresh Produce Doesn’t Mean They’re Eating It

Without the help of a farm wife (or husband) who can take responsibility for running the household’s kitchen, farmers often subsist on processed snacks


Intuitively, you would think that farmers get to enjoy the freshest, ripest fruits and veggies each day, plucked straight from their field. In reality, however, few farmers have time to stop for a meal, let alone devote time to creating a wholesome veggie bisque or spinach quiche. Modern Farmer reports on the sorry state of many farmers' diet:
The primary source of the tension between what farmers grow and what they end up eating is time. During the planting and harvest seasons the days can get extreme, stretching as long as 12 to 16 hours. Farmers who host onsite CSA pickups or navigate through rush hour traffic to drop produce off in nearby cities have to cater to their customer’s own hectic work schedules, which pushes off dinner prep (not to mention breakfast and lunch for the next day) until 8 or 9pm at the earliest.

The contrast between what's grown and what's eaten is perhaps starkest in California, Modern Farmer says, where 80 percent of farmers—many of whom are new to the country and grapple with poverty—suffer from obesity. But even farmers at family-run or smaller operations can be nutrition-deprived. Especially during the busy summer months, they subsist on processed snacks, pizza and perhaps an apple at best. "A lot of the times cooking comes at the expense of sleep," one CSA farmer told Modern Farmer.

Without the help of a farm wife (or farm husband) who can take responsibility for running the household's kitchen—the set-up that farmer families traditionally relied on—Modern Farmer writes, "a doughnut or a Snickers Bar win out by offering unparalleled convenience when farmers need it most."

More from Smithsonian.com:

Farmers' Markets
Bringing Ancient Ways to Our Farmers' Fields 

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