a smell worse than skunk

How lovely to shop at a farmers’ market and buy peaches and green beans fresh from the farm — how icky to bring the produce into my kitchen and notice an awful stink! It is coming from the plastic bags that the farm stand provides handily just above the bins of appetizing fruits and vegetables.

The bags themselves make me sick to my stomach if I keep them around very long, so twice or three times I have quickly emptied whatever it is into a different (reused) bag, and taken the disgusting plastic with its smell directly outside to the garbage can or recycling bin.

What on earth is in these bags that can make them reek much worse than an old garbage truck? It reminds me of the horrible stuff you can get to use systemically on rosebushes to prevent bugs and diseases.

On every successive trip to that market, I have completely forgotten about the bags until I’m already loading one with beans again! Tonight when I got home I held my nose and took some pre-disposal pictures. Then I checked out the URL.

The only grocery bags listed on this website http://www.xo16.com are made in China, but the bags say they are made in the U.S.A.

I think it was at Trader Joe’s in San Francisco that I was given similarly odiferous bags that advertised themselves as completely compostable; printing on the bag instructed me to re-use the bag and then when I was finished with it to put it in my yard waste bin. (In my county, however, we are not allowed to do this.)

Why would I want to carry around a bag that makes me smell like a toxic waste facility? There are plenty of bad smells around on the earth without me contributing more by being that Green, and after all, a significant aspect of our environment is olfactory. Many people these days would like it if we all went perfume-less. Would they really be o.k. with everyone toting their anti-perfume around town as they did their errands?

Somehow it didn’t occur to me to talk to the farmers about the offensive bags. I did find that at the other end of the table, above the peppers, they offered a traditional bag that now seems innocuous by comparison. So next time I will try to avoid the sickening ones, maybe bring paper bags from home to weigh my beans in, and I will be bold enough to ask the farmers if they aren’t bothered by that foul smell?

After I had removed the bags from the house, the stench still clung to my hands, but thank goodness I had just opened a bottle of geranium-infused soap at the kitchen sink. I lathered up and the air began to smell like flowers. Now everything is nice here again, and I can end this post on a sweet note, in the category of Things I Like.

11 thoughts on “a smell worse than skunk

  1. I can't offer any comment on the plastic bags 🙂 but wanted to thank you so much for the sweet comment you just left me today. I appreciate it so much.

    Wondering how you found me, and was curious if it was through a friend who's testing the Orthodox waters, so to speak. Her blog is coffeenutt.blogspot.com and her involvement in the Orthodox church is new.

    For whatever reason, again thanks for the kind words.


  2. I've never heard of such stinky bags. Around here, we still just have normal, junky plastic bags like they give out at WalMart, and big paper bags, if you ask for them. When we go to the grocery around the corner, I take my crocheted bag — a really big, stretchy one. I think the check-out girl dislikes me for it, but I've explained that I don't like collecting dozens of plastic bags at the house b/c the town does not allow me to recycle them, and I hate to just put them into the trash. Besides, I like using my crocheted one 🙂 Maybe you could take a nice tote bag or mesh bag along each time, one that's washable?


  3. M.K., I usually do carry cloth carry-out bags when I do my shopping, especially at the farmers' markets, and I thought about using cloth for the individual items of produce, too — tho with some things, I could just go without a bag at that level — but I'd need some thinner bags for the weighing step.


  4. JUST those bags? So strange. I don't like that it said “made in USA” and they're actually “made in China!” You should tell the farmer, perhaps they don't know. I do have a couple thin bags that I can keep in my purse…2 of them are mesh crocheted bags. I'd highly recommend them!!!


  5. Gosh, I am so happy we have not run into these smelly bags yet here. Plastic bags are outlawed in my city now and we are required to bring our own bags when grocery shopping or else pay for bags at the store.


  6. Hello from Brazil, this is your Brazilian friend Ana Lúcia, an AFSer like you. I miss you so much. Time goes by so fast and I soon realized that we haven´t been in touch for quite some time.I´m Ok, my sons and my daughter area lso fine and my lovely grandson is growing up too fast.I wish we could talk, but writing is just as well, I think. Your Brazilian friend ever, Ana Lúcia


  7. The biodegradable bags here in Italy smell a bit strange, too, but it's bearable, and not like garbage.

    But mostly, I just wanted to say that I love Mrs. Meyer's soaps! As an indication of my esteem for them, I'll just say that a bottle of Mrs. Meyer's lavender hand soap (which has a lovely hint of apple) was among the very few American items I chose to pack into my already full suitcase for the trip back to Italy. This is high praise. I've never tried the geranium kind, though!


  8. Pom Pom, our favorite way to eat our Blue Lake beans is steamed and then smeared with basil pesto.

    Ana Lucia, I really must set up my Skype stuff again! In the meantime, I will try to write you an e-mail soon.

    Laura, I am putting Mrs. Meyer's lavender on my list right now. Thanks for telling me!


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