Fake Farmstand Warning: An Imported Fruit in Jersey Tomato’s Clothing

After a long, luxurious weekend in Montreal, my new favorite sustainable city (more to come), a little trip to a local South Jersey farmstand has sadly left a terrible taste in my mouth.

As we often drive through New Jersey after visiting friends and family – or in this case Canada – we like to stop by the roadside farm stands to pick up some local tomatoes, corn, and whatever else is fresh. For some reason, the ones we pass on our route always made me a bit skeptical – I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I was tempted to ask if their produce was actually organic – or even local.

We stopped by a different one than usual this time, one that had more of a “mom & pop” feel – just a little shanty by the roadside. The peaches and plums looked beautiful – maybe a little too beautiful. The woman working the shop was grim, so I didn’t ask too many questions, just grabbed a few fruits and hit the road.

Back home I cut up a perfect-looking plum for Sam and was shocked when I noticed a “California 4040” sticker stuck to the bottom! California? This supposed local farm stand was just selling conventional, imported produce from across the country?! What a sham! If I wanted that I could get it at Shop Rite for half the price! Was this even legal?

Many large farmer’s markets have rules about the locality of the food that can be sold. But I don’t know if there are any laws surrounding the practice of selling imported produce under the guise of a local farm stand.

Of course, I can not find any information online about this particular stand. But it is a permanent fixture on route 31 in the Flemington, NJ area. We have plans to take that same route to friends’ next Sunday, so guess who’s stopping by with a sticker?

In the meantime, I found some additional information about how to spot a sham stand here. And it looks like my friend Mindful Momma has run into this as well.

We are all trying so hard to be greener and healthier – must we have to contend with phony farmers as well?

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