As Farmers’ Market Opens, NYT Magazine reports nearest farm 500 miles from Baltimore
The farmers gathering for the annual opening of the Baltimore Farmers’ Market beneath the JFX today might be surprised to read this gem about Baltimore in an article about a hip Portland-based butcher in the New York Times Magazine.
“ ‘We have the Willamette Valley and eastern Oregon that’s full of great small farmers.’ Other cities are not so connected, physically and otherwise, to local agriculture. ‘I had a woman who wanted to start one in Baltimore, and I was like, ‘How far away is a good farm, whatever that means to you?’ ‘ The woman took her best guess. ‘She said, “I don’t know, 500 miles or something?”’ ”
The problems here are so numerous it’s hard to know where to begin. If you go 500 miles south of Baltimore, you pass through all of Virginia, all of North Carolina and almost all the way to Charleston, S.C. Westward, Knoxville, Tenn. is barely more than 500 miles, and one can get all the way through Pennsylvania’s farmland to Pittsburgh in only half that distance. And this, of course, leaves out all of Maryland’s farms. Add here’s our list, from last year, of 11 Baltimore-based farms. (The image above, from the University of Maryland, shows radii from College Park).
Camas Davis, the source of this quote, seems like the Portland version of the old New Yorker joke, where the rest of the country is some great undifferentiated mass. She is free to be an idiot (we certainly quote people saying misguided things). But note the bit in bold above, which comes directly from Marnie Hanel, author of the piece. The magazine’s editors allowed this obviously inane quote to stand as evidence that “Other cities are not so connected, physically and otherwise, to local agriculture.” And Camas Davis, in turn, is quoting an anonymous woman from Baltimore as the source of her geographical knowledge.
If you are this “woman,” please stop spreading lies about basic East Coast geography to naive westerners and the paper of record. They just might take what you said at face value.