Sunday, May 11, 2008

Nub's Fresh Fruit and Vegetables



On my way home from church this morning I saw that Mr Nub's food stand was open. I had to swing a U-turn on Hwy 54 in Fayette County Georgia and have a conversation with this "man on the street".

Over the years I have talked with him, learning a lot about the county that I now live in. One would assume that this suburban county has Black folks moving out of Atlanta and into the suburbs. You would be wrong to assume this. The fact is that Black folks have always resided in this county. In fact we left Fayette and surrounding counties and moved into Atlanta in order to get a dose of big city life decades ago. This is not an exodus out of Atlanta but instead a "return home". Just as I made a macro-exodus from the big city North I also made a micro-exodus from Atlanta into Fayette County.

Today's conversation was about the higher costs associated with nearly everything related to his farming operations. He told me that a bag of seed corn that used to cost him $0.50 per bag 'back in the day' now costs $12.00 per bag. I asked him how much he paid for the same item last year. He told me it was $9.00 last year and then $6.00 before that. He said that it was "the oil companies" that are causing all of this.

He then took me over to his field



He showed me his newly planted tomatoes, mustard greens, collard greens and peppers. In the far end of the field he is queuing up to plant corn and a few other crops.

On the one hand I empathize with the increases in production costs born by Mr. Nubs. Every extra dollar in costs both impacts his bottom line as well as impacts the prices that he must charge his customers. Where as I was originally hedging on purchasing a watermelon from him for $8.50 - I figured that it is not worth the haggling. That $2 extra dollars is not going to bankrupt me on this otherwise optional purchase. It would go a long way in supporting his operations.

He gave me some guidance in keeping the bugs off of the tomatoes that I usually grow in my back yard. He told me how the frost earlier this year nearly damaged his crops. Interestingly enough he sprayed water on his crops so that the freezing water would shield the buds from the outside cold. I recall that the orange farmers in Florida had to do this years ago to prevent crop damaged. I need to do more research on this tactic which seems backward - spraying water on the crops so that the water will freeze and in turn protect the crops from freeze damage? Pretty interesting.

We need more young people engaging in farm production so that this type of knowledge is not lost and they can have a more direct hand in addressing the imbalance between food demand and food supply.

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