Here in Vermont, the better part of religious devotion is spent on the "local food" movement. When worship takes place at the farmer's market, the peculiar ceremonies and vocabulary of that faith can be impenetrable to unbelievers. And it is up to the priests of this religion—the beleaguered farmers—to pronounce upon devotees the benedictions of the local soil.

Being a pastor is hard. But I've known enough market gardeners and small-scale farmers to know better than to envy them. They work staggering hours at the mercy of a thousand variables, their sliver of a profit margin always at risk from a parasite, a cold snap, a moment's inattention.

But the worst part might be the attention that must be paid to their clientele. Those consumers have appetites that must be satisfied, preferences that must be considered, and questions that must be answered with a straight face. And advice, they have advice that must be endured with patience and grace.

Approaching advice

If you're a market ...

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