Growing Farmers’ Markets

Alive and well is the local farmers’ market in an urban environment. I was delighted to read this comprehensive article [“The Ripe Stuff,” March-April]. Since I have frequented many local farmers’ markets across the country, I was particularly interested to learn that the emergence of this grassroots trend has had a significant impact on small and midsize farms by keeping them financially solvent. I agree with the writer that the farmers’ market movement is here to stay. However, I hope government at the local and federal levels will recognize its economic growth potential and allow it to continue on its own steam.

Beatrix Woods
Manhasset, NY


Hazing Grazers?

I agree with Ted Williams that some landscapes are too fragile for cattle and some lessees of public lands are too greedy [“Sacred Cows,” March-April]. However, losing grazing leases may cause a rancher to sell the place, and these days the buyer is likely to be a developer. Unfortunately, every ranch cannot be rescued and turned into a wildlife sanctuary. Here on the plains the new ranchette owners are prone to mowing over ground-nesting birds and overgrazing with livestock. They often leave dogs and cats loose to prey on wildlife. Leaving the land in the hands of a good rancher can be a better bet for its ecological health.

Barb Gorges
Cheyenne, WY

Ted Williams responds:
I don’t disagree with Ms. Gorges. But my point was that if ranchers would defend instead of trying to scuttle the one law that can save their industry—the National Environmental Policy Act—they would have a much better chance of hanging on to their leases and their ranches.

I read Ted Williams’s article and realized objectivity was not a prerequisite to the story—it was a piece of propaganda. As a cattle rancher, I, too, could write a biased article on the same issue, only with the slant being in favor of grazing on public lands. Both of my ranches are better cared for than if the Nature Conservancy owned them, and I do this at a profit while providing food, fiber, minerals, timber, and wildlife habitat to society. It continues to puzzle me as a capitalist that people associated with nonprofit organizations and public employees are so negative about free enterprise. Without capitalism, you all would be selling pencils on the streets, or even worse, tending cattle on public lands.

Ronald Ericsson
Alzada, MT

Ted Williams responds:
I don’t believe Mr. Ericsson can seriously contend that I should have based my assessment of grazing practices in the West on the alleged condition of his two ranches. Moreover, as I repeatedly wrote, the welfare ranching we permit and fund on 252 million acres of our public lands is anything but “free enterprise.”



Jeff Hull’s piece on red foxes was both enjoyable and terrible to read [“Meadow Lark,” March-April]. I can’t get this part out of my mind: “Swiss animal-rights activists at Chinese fur farms have documented foxes being skinned alive, bodies thrashing, eyes blinking, mouths shrieking 10 or 15 minutes after their pelt was torn from their flesh.” What can be done to stop these barbaric things from continuing? What can I do?

Tina Mossbarger
Sarasota, FL

Jeff Hull responds:
My advice is to get involved with one of the following organizations. You can start by visiting their websites: www.api4animals.org; www.idausa.org; www.banlegholdtraps.com/activ.html; www.furkills.org/trapping.shtml; www.peta.org.

As a sportsman, it is hard to defend Audubon after Jeff Hull’s one-sided story on fox control. There is no mention of rabies, mange, or distemper, factors of overpopulation. Trapping is far less painful. Does a blue quill hurt when it penetrates a fish’s mouth? Let’s be rational instead of emotional.

Wayne Lavis
Bloomsburg, PA


Cutting Catalogs
Since your recommendation in the September-October 2005 issue [“The Final Frontier”] that readers call mail-order companies to cancel unsolicited catalogs, I’ve contacted 45 companies—some of which referred to my “subscription” to their catalog, as if I had ordered it! I knew we recycled a lot of catalogs, but the number that arrived every week really surprised me. One company offered this additional tip: Whenever you order anything over the phone, make sure to ask the clerk not to “rent” your name to other companies. This should help end that familiar phenomenon: After ordering something by mail, a few weeks later a new rash of catalogs arrives in your mailbox.

Stephanie Wiles
Brooklyn, NY


Instead of 6 1⁄2 inches by 6 1⁄2 inches, the dimensions of the 10 1⁄2-inch length of untreated softwood in the blueprint for the orchard mason bee nesting block (“Bring on the Bees,” January-February) should have been 5 1⁄2 inches by 5 1⁄2 inches. We apologize for the error.


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