Eating farm-fresh foods has won a four-stamp endorsement from the United States Postal Service — regardless of the cost. That, in effect, is the message the new forever stamps send.
The stamps were dedicated Aug. 7 at the Freshfarm Market by the White House in Washington, D.C.
Even before the stamps were officially released by Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe, they had come under attack by a National Geographic blogger who was upset that a loaf of bread is shown on the stamp as selling for $7.
Potatoes are $5 a bag, grapes $8 a bunch, peppers $2 each.
Too much says Mary Beth Albright, a self-proclaimed food evangelist, in an article titled “New Farmers Market Stamp A USPS Blunder,” at the blog site, http://theplate.nationalgeographic.com.
“The greatest argument against farmers markets generally these days is that they are more expensive than supermarkets …,” Albright complained.
“If the government is trying to fight this notion,” she added, “this stamp isn’t the way to do it.”
“The stamp portrays food prices that would make even an evangelist like me think twice.”
The U.S. Postal Service released a statement before the ceremony to blunt the National Geographic blog’s criticism.
“The new stamps are one example of a typical American farmers market,” it said.
“However, as the article references, prices do vary geographically and by season.”
Artist Robin Moline of Lakeland, Minn., who was making her stamp debut with the four stamps, sought to deflect the blog’s objections.
This is a forever stamp issue, she said after the ceremony, and the stamps are for the “past, present and future.”
Some prices might seem “a little bit high … we had to guess,” she said.
The ceremony drew a crowd of about 1,000 to a weekly farmer’s market near the White House that had been inaugurated by first lady Michelle Obama in 2009 as part of her campaign for Americans to eat better.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack joined Donahoe to plug the stamps.
“This postage stamp will give us a chance to concentrate on the benefits” of farmers markets, he said.
For his part, Vilsack publicly placed one of the stamps on a letter to a North Carolina youngster who had written to him about his department and promised to give the rest of the stamps on his sheet to his grandchildren.
“It’s a great opportunity for them to start collecting,” the secretary said to the delight of collectors in the audience.
None of the speakers mentioned the flap over the prices shown on the stamps.
“A great stamp … very good … absolutely beautiful,” said Donahoe praising the issue.
He also noted that a postal mural in the nearby Bethesda, Md., post office celebrated a farmers market. The mural was painted in 1939.
“Shopping at farmers markets is an age-old practice that’s back in style today,” he said.
The first-day programs did contain a mistake. Donahoe was listed as “Patrick J. Donahoe.” His middle initial is “R” not “J.”
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Watch as Linn’s Stamp News senior editor Denise McCarty discusses current events that relate to the stamp hobby, including the relocation of a stamp show in Sweden due to the Syrian refugee crises, and new stamps honoring Pope Francis and the British monarchy.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News associate editor Michael Baadke talks about a record fifth win for wildlife artist Joseph Hautman in the federal duck stamp art contest, and see the painting that will appear on next year’s federal duck stamp
Watch as Scott catalog senior editor Marty Frankevicz questions Bolivia’s choice for the design of a 2013 stamp honoring the country’s efforts to protect its migrants in foreign lands.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News managing editor Chad Snee discusses the discovery of the upright Jenny Invert pane received in an order from Stamp Fulfillment Services in Kansas City, Mo., and also reports on the Confederate Stamp Alliance.
It is always a treat to get to see stamp dealers’ own collections.
In the recently concluded Linn’s United States Stamp Popularity Poll, the Circus Posters set of eight stamps was chosen as the overall favorite issue of 2014.
Dispersal of the splendid Daniel B. Curtis collection continued March 25, with Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries gaveling items from United States back-of-the-book and possessions.
The 175th anniversary of the first postage stamp, Great Britain's Penny Black, is May 6, but the stamp was placed on sale May 1, 1840, for mailers to use beginning on May 6, the designated issue date.