Why doesn’t this Ag city love, thrive on organic?

Published 9:42 am Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I heard a Bainbridge rumor recently that a lady came through town, her car broke down and after going to several stores on Shotwell Street she decided to up and move here.
I think that would be the case more often if more people broke down and had a few minutes to fall in love with this city.
Honestly, Mayor Edwards should consider putting spikes on 27 and 84. You would be surprised at how many people we could trap here with our charm.
But there is one thing, on a serious note, we could do that would drive more traffic into Bainbridge. That is creating a community more reliant on consuming our own agriculture.
I liken myself to be somewhat of a country girl at heart. I may not always walk the walk, but I understand (mostly) what people are talking about in rural Georgia. Understanding folks in rural Alabama was much more difficult, especially for a reporter trying to coax out the facts from an old man who pronounced “Willow tree” as “whooly trees.”
But there are several instances and scenarios that arise that bring out a whole new side of me. It’s a side I’m not proud of. It’s one where I turn up my nose and think “OMG you have been living under a rock.”
One such scenario is when the check out folks at the grocery store ask me what my purchases are.
Sure, I don’t expect everyone to recognize an artichoke or avocado, or my favorite — when they think zucchinis are cucumbers. But the worst is when I buy something with the label, “organic.”
People in line with me, and sometimes the cashiers, glance up at me with an odd expression. They look at me; turn up their nose like they just saw me lick a floor drain in the pins at the Cloud Livestock Building.
“Do you really eat that stuff,” they ask about my Winn Dixie milk labeled, “organic.”
Then a bratty, city slicker, college grad, millennial rears up from somewhere in my depths.
“You mean this organic milk?” I ask back like a snot. How could they not know what organic means or know that it doesn’t taste any differently than normal milk? Almond milk, soy milk, I mean I will agree that stuff tastes like trash, but for the lady checking out my groceries, let me explain organic means, “like in the old days.”
In the most basic explanation organic milk means milk that came out of a cow and into a milk jug and that is where the story ends. Okay, so it was processed but nothing harmful was added.
On the other hand, milk from any other carton the story is a little more dramatic and a lot more disgusting. A cow is injected with cocktails of hormones. These hormones make them produce more milk. In a large operation cows are then hooked up to machines where whatever liquid is put out is then stocked on a shelf in your grocery store.
So now let me ask you with my nose still turned up, “ Are you really going to drink that?”
Organic means, “what milk used to be. It’s just milk. No chemicals that are harmful and definitely no estrogen — Lord knows I don’t need any more of that.
I guess what upsets me about these snotty exchanges in the grocery store isn’t just that my Bainbridge hometown peeps don’t know how great organic really is, but more they should be the ones preaching it to the rest of the world.
Why in a community that thrives on agriculture and praises its existence would people not be totally obsessed with natural and fresh ingredients?
I’m going to give Harvest Moon some love. They sell organic and fresh produce at their stand and have for several years.
But why aren’t there more of these businesses?
I know Bainbridge will fall in love with organic food soon, but I hope everyone realizes that more people would fall in love with us too.
Here we value the simpler things in life and love to savor them. We hate traffic; we love the outdoors. Our food choices (and consumer choices) could reflect that if there were more farmers selling goat cheese and milk jugs from their front door step.
Call me if someone is doing that already, my checkbook is waiting.

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