Saturday, November 15, 2008

Anthony and the Milk Bottle

It's good to be home. After running at the track today, and bumping into a couple of my old Italian neighbors (we of course talked about the weather), I picked up some produce and milk at the farmers' market. A quart of Ronnybrook Farm milk cost me $1.25, as buyers get $1 off the price for each glass bottle they return. Starting to feel ridiculous in short running shorts, as the wind finally began to pick up and banish these global warming temps, I walked, milk under arm and vegetables over shoulder, to Settepani for coffee. After a quick chat there, I was heading home, when a man outside the Lorimer Market (good for prepared salads, sandwiches, cold cuts, and the like) stopped me to talk about my bottle of milk. Anthony (it's a safe bet that Brooklyn-Italian guys you meet in the neighborhood respond to Anthony or Pete) didn't know much about the farmers' market, but he was intrigued by the glass bottle; he was looking for glass because it keeps longer and doesn't get punctured in transport. When I told him about the deposit system, whereby you get the $1 back for every glass bottle returned, he got even more excited. I suggested that the shop might start up a program like those that stores do to get people to bring back old soda and beer bottles, and also that each time people returned the bottles they'd be coming into the shop again, which is good for business. At one point, Anthony actually took the bottle and disappeared for a few minutes to show it to Jerry, his brother-in-law and the owner (Brooklyn-Italians are also all related). The long and short of it is that I told them more about the farmers' market, including its hours (6 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday) and said I'd hook them up with a Ronnybrook contact. I also confirmed that there would be great local demand for the product, that they might consider carrying other Ronnybook items, and that other local proprietors (like Sunac) are already doing so. The mission I've been articulating for myself for awhile (and that is fast picking up speed) is to re/create and re/integrate local food networks, and today was a serendipitous example of the increasing interest in and potential fruits of such endeavors.

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